viernes, 1 de febrero de 2013

Mexican villagers put crime suspects on trial

Some 500 residents of various districts of the western state of Guerrero began on 31 January their own trial of over 50 suspects held in preceding weeks for alleged criminal activities in the surrounding Costa Chica sector, the review Proceso reported. The trial, which state authorities have more or less denounced as illegal, was organized by "community authorities" of the ethnic population of the districts of Florencio Villarreal, Ayutla de los Libres, Tecoanapa and San Marcos, and fruit of a self-defence movement that emerged in early January as residents armed themselves to fight rampant crime. About 250 people attending the first session were armed. They listened to the presentation of the purported defendants in a three-hour event held in hills outside the town of Ayutla; a second session was to be held on 22 February in the district of Tecoanapa, Proceso reported. The gathering also heard members of the Community Police explain the recent history of popular mobilization locally; a founder of the Community Police the priest Mario Campos Hernández, explained that the people was restoring order where the state had failed. He alluded to suspected collusion between some authorities and criminals, which was presented as a cause of this virtual uprising. The head of the Union of Peoples and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (UPOEG) Bruno Plácido Valerio separately denied that state authorities had retaken control of the district of Ayutla and insisted locals would not disarm until they had eliminated crime locally. It is by no means exceptional in Mexico to suspect collusion between authorities and criminals. Most recently the former mayoress of Lerdo in the northern state of Durango placed a notice in a daily accusing a local leader of her party - the conservative National Action Party (PAN) - of associating with criminals. Maria del Rosario Castro Lozano published her charges in El Sol de Durango against the PAN coordinator in Lerdo, Raúl Villegas Morales. She declared she informed the party's National Executive Committee of this in October 2012 but was ignored, Proceso reported on 30 January. How she asked can "we demand that the...governor" of Durango to "clean the state of traffickers when the head of...the PAN in Lerdo has links?"

Colombian hostages freed, six guerrillas killed

Three oil-sector contractors kidnapped in southern Colombia on 30 January were abandoned by their captors the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on 31 January after these were pursued by the army and plain-clothes agents, Caracol radio reported, citing army declarations. The head of the Army's Sixth Brigade General Germán Giraldo told Caracol on 31 January that the FARC left the two engineers and a topographer in the locality of Fragüita in the southern Caquetá department, apparently to maintain their own mobility. President Juan Manuel Santos said that day speaking in Cartagena de Indias, that authorities had information that two policemen believed kidnapped by the FARC on 25 January were alive, and efforts were underway to rescue them. He said the FARC were mistaken if they believed they could pressure the state into ending its military actions with kidnappings, and vowed Colombia would end its war with the FARC "one way or another," the broadcaster Caracol reported. He thus rejected again the FARC's calls for a bilateral ceasefire; Colombia did not accept he said, proposals to "regulate this war or humanize it," or any "transaction." The Defence Ministry also confirmed an earlier Air-Force communiqué on the deaths at an unspecified date of a FARC chieftain and five guerrillas during bombardments in north-western Colombia. The Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón told Caracol radio that one of the dead was identified as Juan Carlos Arango - Jacobo Arango - the commander of the FARC's Fifth Front and Northwestern Block. He was killed when the Air Force bombarded a camp in the Nudo de Paramillo locality in the department of Antióquia. Police and navy personnel separately caught on 31 January two suspects provisionally identified as extortionists for the FARC; they were found with explosives in the south-western district of Tumaco, the Defence Ministry stated.