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(BBC) – Three Mexican film students kidnapped last month in the western Jalisco state were later killed and their bodies dissolved in acid, local officials say.
They say the male students, all in their 20s, were killed by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel gang, who likely confused them with rival gang members.
Genetic remains of the missing students were found on a farm in recent days, the officials say.
The students were kidnapped on 19 March in the town of Tonalá.
Reports in local media say they were seized by a group of men disguised as police when their car broke down on a motorway.
They students have been named as Salomón Aceves Gastélum, Jesús Daniel Díaz and Marco Ávalos.
The Jalisco New Generation cartel, one of Mexico’s most powerful criminal gangs, controls large areas of the western state.
In January, three Italian men disappeared there, and are believed to have been handed over by local police to gangsters.
More than 200,000 people have been killed or have disappeared since Mexico’s government declared war on organised crime in December 2006.
The military offensive has led to the destruction of some drug gangs, splits within others and the emergence of new groups.
But with widespread corruption and impunity exacerbating Mexico’s problems, there is no end in sight to the violence.
In 2014, 43 students disappeared in the southern state of Guerrero.
The state prosecutor in that case said that the students had been handed by corrupt local police to a criminal gang, who killed them and burned their bodies.