domingo, 20 de enero de 2013

Over 160 suspect policemen held in Mexico

Two police chiefs were among 158 policemen and police employees detained on 18 January in two districts of the north-central state of Durango, all suspected of aiding organized crime, the chief prosecutor of Durango announced. Sonia Yadira de la Garza Fragoso said 110 of the detained were district policemen of Lerdo and 48 of Gómez Palacio, Proceso reported. She said that initial questioning indicated the suspects had assisted criminals by means including providing information and protection or directly participating in criminal acts. In the eastern state of Veracruz, state and federal police detained at an unspecified date a gang of six suspected kidnappers including three policemen, involved in crimes in a zone that included Carlos A. Carrillo and Cosamaloapan, the districts where the policemen worked, Proceso reported on 18 January. A Public Security spokesman for Veracruz Ernesto González Quiroz said the public presentation of the criminal policemen showed "there is no space for impunity in Veracruz, and less so for those public servants obligated to protect citizens." The gang reportedly admitted when questioned to taking part in six kidnappings and acts of extortion and drug dealing. The website cited the Veracruz Public Security Secretary, who heads policing in the state, Arturo Bermúdez Zurita as saying on 18 January that some 2,500 policemen had been dismissed in the state since 2010 for failing "confidence" tests. Another official who vowed to crack down on police corruption on 18 January was Mexico's deputy-interior minister for Planning, Manuel Mondragón y Kalb, who appeared that day before the Senate Public Security Committee, Proceso reported. Mondragón, a former police chief of Mexico City, later told the press he would apply "zero tolerance for corruption, however far it goes, whatever the means and whenever it has to happen. I don't care what is said about this. When I fight corruption I will not tolerate or permit it." Mondragón said three "fundamental" sectors - Mexico's 15 federal prisons, the Federal Police and the police data gathering system (Plataforma México) - were currently undergoing operational scrutiny. Mondragón would head the National Public Security Council (CNSP), a policy-making organ, once approved by the Senate.

Over 20 shot, found dead around Mexico

Some 20 people were reported killed in executions or gun fights with state forces, or found dead around Mexico on 18-19 January, Proceso reported. These included: five suspected criminals killed in a shootout with police and the army on the night of 18-19 January in the north-western district of Mochis in the state of Sinaloa, and six shot dead by troops and police in the district of Puente Nacional in the east-coast state of Veracruz. Thousands of troops and federal policemen have been sent to Veracruz within the Veracruz Seguro operation, in a bid to curb a surge in organized crime there. The operation was recently extended to the Sotavento zone in the state that includes Puente Nacional, the district where troops reportedly came under fire late on 18 January, Proceso reported. The website reported the discovery in Estado de México of the bodies of three men apparently shot to death; they were found on 19 January by a road linking Toluca and Temascaltepec. In addition six bodies were discovered on 18 January in the states of Estado de México, Puebla and Morelos; one of the victims here was found cut into bits, and three in a state of "advanced" putrefaction in the district of Tochimilco in the state of Puebla. Six skeletons or the bones of six people, were found in a house in the west-coast district of Acapulco on 18 or 19 January, the daily El Universal reported.

El Salvador gangs to avoid violence in four districts

Mediators announced the start on 18 January of the second phase of a ceasefire between El Salvador's main criminal gangs, naming four districts as "sanctuary municipalities" that were to be gradually rid of violent crime in following days, Europa Press reported. The ceasefire began in March 2012 and officials believe it has significantly reduced violent crime in El Salvador. The municipalities were named by the army bishop and the former leftist guerrilla Raul Mijango who have been acting as mediators between the state and several gangs. In a communiqué issued on 19 January five gangs promised to respect the four sanctuaries and qualified this as part of a process "whose objective is to fully abandon all criminal activity." They also stated that they would continue to "disarm" and hand over weapons to "facilitators" of the Organization of American States, which is assisting the pacification process in El Salvador, Europa Press reported. They asked the government to design a legal framework for this disarmament. The statement was signed by the gangs MSX3, Barrio 19, Mao-Mao, Máquina and Mirada Locos, while the four districts due to become sanctuaries from violence were named as Santa Tecla, Sonsonate, Llopango and Quezaltepeque, the latter a reputed crime hot-spot, Europa Press reported. El Salvador's La Prensa Gráfica reported on 20 January that the gangs were prepared to extend the ceasefire to 18 other districts, adding however that they had made no commitment to discontinue extortion.