viernes, 28 de septiembre de 2012

Guatemalan army evacuates families threatened by gang

The Guatemalan army evacuated late on 26 September five families from their homes near the Mexican border, apparently avoiding their imminent massacre by suspected members of the Mexican drug cartel The Zetas. The families - consisting of 44 people including 22 children - were taken from Santo Domingo Sinlaj in the district of Santa Cruz Barillas to army facilities in Guatemala City, El País reported on 28 September, citing local press reports. The Guatemalan daily Prensa Libre reported that they had for days been confined to their homes by Zetas who control this area and force locals into criminal work; it cited the regional commander General Rudy Ortíz Ruiz as saying that the army had information The Zetas were about to kill and rape 15 men and women for refusing to work for them, and that more families asked to be taken away when troops arrived to evacuate them. Authorities arrested in that zone on 27 September a suspect named as Daniel Juan, identified as the possible "local chief" of The Zetas, El País reported. The prosecutor-general of Guatemala Claudia Paz y Paz also announced the capture of the Zeta chief for Santa Cruz Barillas - named as Juan Nicolás - though it was not immediately clear if this was the same person, AFP reported, citing her remarks to Prensa Libre.

Detained Mexican gangster was in "rift" with cartel

Iván Velázquez Caballero, a regional boss in The Zetas drug cartel detained in central Mexico on 26 September, was possibly competing with the Zeta's leader Miguel Angel Treviño Morales - Z-40 - to control  San Luis Potosí the city where he was detained, the Mexican navy ministry stated on 27 September. Caballero, dubbed Z-50 or El Talibán, was reputedly the cartel chief in the central and northern states of Zacatecas, Coahuila, Aguascalientes, part of Guanajuato and the Monterrey district in northern Mexico, and commanded 400 operatives; "certain sources indicate" he was also seeking an alliance with the rival Gulf Cartel, EFE cited navy spokesman José Luis Vergara as saying. He was detained with two collaborators in a house that yielded items including a rifle and handguns, four hand grenades, 20,000 USD and 12 kilogrammes of "green weed with the characteristics of marijuana." His defection - alluded to in cartel messages recently hung in public spots - apparently provoked at least 14 killings in August.

Army bombs Colombian rebels, kills eight

Colombian troops bombed a jungle base of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on the north-western department of Antióquia early on 27 September, killing "at least" eight rebels including two local chiefs, agencies cited Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón as saying in Bogotá that day. Two of the dead were Efraín González Ruiz the commander of the FARC's fronts 35 and 37, and Jhonatan Lascarro head of a mobile unit and nephew of one of the seven members of the FARC's Secretariat or politburo. Five guerrillas were also detained and one surrendered to troops in the operation near the district of El Bagre, EFE reported.

Courts find Cali politician "did not" connive with rebels

Colombian public prosecutors declared on 27 September that a provincial legislator who survived the killing of a group of politicians kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had not connived with his captors, and ended investigations into his case. Authorities detained Sigifredo López in May 2012 for three months while investigating his suspected role in the kidnapping in April 2002 of 12 members of the Valle de Cauca departmental assembly including himself. Eleven were shot dead in June 2007, apparently when their guards thought the army was about to rescue them. López lived - he was reportedly detached from the group at the time - and was freed by the FARC in February 2009, Agence France-Presse reported. He was then suspected of having been an accomplice based on "mistaken" evidence handled by the judicial police, the office of public prosecutions (Fiscalía) found. The state's director of public prosecutions (Fiscal-general) Eduardo Montealegre Lynett publicly apologized on 27 September and said his office would undertake "a symbolic" act of compensation in the city of Cali in Valle del Cauca, where López lives.

Ten killed around Mexico

Nine people were killed or found dead on 27 September around Mexico, in the states of Morelos and Veracruz and the western city of Guadalajara, Proceso reported. These included a man shot dead in a bar in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos, the bodies of two young men found in a ditch in Morelos - they had apparently been stabbed in the neck - and a businessman and a woman found dead in Playa Vicente in the eastern state of Veracruz. It seemed they had been beaten then shot to death; the businessman, Cecilio Cervantes, had been reported disappeared 10 days before. On 28 September, the body of a man shot to death was found wrapped in a "colourful" blanket near the Country Club in Culiacán, north-western Mexico, El Universal reported.