miércoles, 13 de marzo de 2013

Mexican troops detain armed locals, held in turn

Mexican troops detained on 10 or 11 March 17 men armed with rifles in the western state of Michoacán who appeared to be members of a local self-defence group, one of several that have emerged around Mexico to fight crime. The men may have been of the "community police" of the locality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, also called La Ruana, and were detained on the road between the nearby districts of Buenavista and Tecalcatepec, Proceso reported. Troops also confiscated their cars, described as quite new. The detainees were to be investigated by the Michoacán Public Ministry or state prosecution service. This and a previous arrest of dozens of locals may have led angry residents of Buenavista to retain a group of soldiers, perhaps 47, for several hours on 12 March. La Crónica de Hoy reported that locals were demanding the release of 51 residents of La Ruana held and suspected of having ties to crime; footage shown on Milenio television showed the locals heckling the troops who remained calm. The Mexican interior ministry announced in a communiqué that day that the defence ministry, Buenavista municipality and the state of Michoacán had agreed to resolve the problems of the arrests and of insecurity in the area, including by boosting military patrols. Separately, a spokesman for the south-central state of Morelos "categorically" rejected on 12 March the incipient formation of a self-defence group in the locality of Temoac in Morelos. The state's Government Secretary Jorge Messeguer Guillén said there was no "risk" such militias would be formed and "the state government will never allow, we say this quite emphatically, never allow armed, community-type police forces to be established in Morelos, with powers the law does not give them," Excelsior reported. Reportedly residents began on 8 March to guard entry points to Temoac, search cars and patrol the streets at night. Excelsior observed that kidnappings had become frequent in this part of the state in the last 20 years. The locals might have misinterpreted an agreement Messeguer said was signed between the Temoac municipality and state authorities whereby residents would assist police with information and patrol their village unarmed.

Dozens reported killed around Mexico

The webpage Valor por Tamaulipas, run by anonymous users and which monitors violent crime in Mexico's north-eastern Tamaulipas state, claimed that 50 people - most of whom may have been gangsters - were killed in gun battles between "armed civilians" in the city of Reynosa on 10 March and later. With these, some 60 were reported to have died in presumed criminal incidents or were found dead around Mexico on 10-12 March. Valor por Tamaulipas rejected the authorities' count of two deaths in the shootout and observed they omitted to count "dozens" of bodies thrown into one or more ditches in the district, Proceso reported on 12 March. The review reported continuing "movements" by armed groups that day. The shootout was attributed to rivalry between factions of the Gulf Cartel in Reynosa. Authorities separately found on 12 March seven bodies - of possible victims of drug cartels - left in clandestine graves in the northern and north-western states of Chihuahua and Sonora, Proceso reported. A spokesman for the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office said police believe the four found buried outside the district of  Rosales in Chihuahua may have been killed by gunmen linked to the Sinaloa Cartel headed by Joaquín Guzmán Loera. He said more bodies may be found. The grave was located after police questioned 11 suspected drug dealers and gunmen, detained in the state at an unspecified date. On 10 March the army arrested four police officers and a traffic policeman of Rosales, these being suspected of having ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, Proceso reported. Also, the police chief of the district of Tarímbaro in the western state of Michoacán was kidnapped on 10 or 11 March, then beaten and shot to death; his body was found elsewhere in Michoacán, Proceso cited the mayor of Tarímbaro as saying. Four people were in turn shot dead in the western resort of Acapulco on 11 March: three in a parked minibus, and another in an Internet café he owned, Proceso reported.

Colombian forces kill six FARC guerrillas, suspects held

Colombian forces shot dead six fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in recent operations around the country, including four on 12 March in the southern department of Guaviare, and two in northern Colombia, shot by police at an unspecified date. One of the two was a FARC captain dubbed Zabala, killed in the district of El Bagre, the broadcaster Caracol reported on 12 March, although the Defence Ministry reported him as killed in nearby Zaragoza. Zabala or José Pórtela Céspedes, was identified as the deputy-chief of the Centre Unit of the FARC's Middle Magdalena Block (Bloque Magdalena Medio); authorities linked him to activities including kidnapping, illegal mining and extortion in collaboration with criminal gangs, the Defence Ministry stated. In the district of Calamar in Guaviare, troops shot dead four guerrillas including a "financial officer" of the FARC dubbed Yesid, thought involved in drug trafficking and arms purchases, El Tiempo reported. Troops also captured a female guerrilla dubbed Clara la India in that operation and confiscated the equivalent of about USD 2,800. Police separately caught 10 suspected murderers in Medellín and other districts of the department of Antioquia, in undated operations, Caracol reported on 12 March. One of the detained was suspected as involved in the killing in August 2007 of four trade unionists in Canalete in the northern department of Córdoba. In Cali, police caught on 11 or 12 March a suspect identified as Mochochoy, a member of the Rastrojos criminal gang active in the western department of Chocó. Mochochoy reportedly performed logistical and planning tasks including watching and informing on state forces and their movements; he worked for the gang for four years in all and was ordered detained in November 2012, the Defence Ministry reported.