Guards at burned Mexican detention center didn’t have keys

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Two guards who fled a fire that killed 40 migrants in a locked Mexican detention center did not have keys to the cell door, Mexico’s president said Tuesday.

The comments by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador came on the same day that the bodies of 17 Guatemala migrants killed in the fire were scheduled to be flown back to their home country.

It was unclear what effect López Obrador’s comments might have on the trial of the guards.

“The door was closed, because the person who had the keys wasn’t there,” López Obrador said.

A video from a security camera inside the facility shows guards walking away when the fire started in late March inside the cell holding migrants.

The guards are seen hurrying away as smoke fills the facility, and they did not appear to make any effort to release the migrants.

Three Mexican immigration officials, a guard and a Venezuelan migrant are being held for investigation in connection with the fire. They face homicide charges.

The migrant allegedly set fire to foam mattresses at the detention center to protest what he apparently thought were plans to move or deport the migrants.

Also Tuesday, a Mexican military plane carried the bodies of 17 migrants to Guatemala. Authorities say 19 of the 40 dead were from that country, but the other two bodies are still in the process of having their indentities confirmed.

An additional 11 Guatemalans were injured in the fire.

Guatemalan Foreign Minister Mario Búcaro accompanied the bodies, which after landing were to be taken overland to their hometowns in nine different provinces.

Some bodies of Salvadoran migrants were returned to El Salvador last week.

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