Police have arrested the fugitive mayor of the Mexican town where 43 students went missing in September, according to local media reports.

Jose Luis Abarca, the mayor of Iguala, was arrested by police officers in the Mexican capital, Mexico City.

Mexican authorities have claimed that Abarca was behind the students' disappearance on 26 September.

Mexican police spokesman Jose Ramon Salinas confirmed on Twitter that Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, had been arrested.

Eyewitnesses reported Abarca being bundled into a car by police. Mexican officials had issued an arrest warrant for the Mayor and his wife after police officers claimed that they had received orders from the mayor to confront the students.

Police opened fire during a protest staged by the youths against what they perceived to be "discriminatory" hiring policies, which favoured urban students over rural ones.

It has been alleged that officials in Iguala had close connections to the Guerreros Unidos cartel who allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a month to Abarca in return for being allowed to continue its production of opium paste to power the US heroin market.

The search for the students has revealed a number of mass graves but tests have shown that the bodies are not those of the students.