domingo, 14 de abril de 2013

More locals join community police in western Mexico

One hundred and six local residents were sworn in as new members of the community police of the district of Tixtla in Guerrero on Mexico's Pacific coast, in another sign that such self-defence groups, which have appeared in several parts of Mexico, were staying for now in spite of authorities' displeasure. The recruits included women and had already engaged in local policing for two months several localities of Tixtla, La Crónica de Hoy reported on 14 April, citing declarations from a regional coordinating body CRAC (Coordinadora Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias). The CRAC general-coordinator Eliseo Villar Castillo said "the project of community security and justice" was consolidating itself in parts of Guerrero, where such groups rose to prominence, namely the Costa Chica and inland and central parts of the state. Their aim he said was not to defy the authorities, but he observed locals were tired of the state's apparent inability to check crime. La Crónica separately reported shooting on 13 April between self-defence groups and suspected criminals, in the district of Buenavista Tomatlán, in the state of Michoacán north-west of Guerrero. The army intervened and was fired on though it was not immediately clear who fired on troops nor whether or not anyone died, La Crónica de Hoy reported. On 10 April, President Enrique Peña Nieto said self-defence groups were illegal and his "democratic" government could not tolerate them, Excelsior reported. Peña Nieto said, speaking in Japan, that "beyond what these groups may call themselves, the possible practices they may resort to intending to take justice into their hands are activities going beyond legality, which my government will have to fight." Authorities in Guerrero announced on 13 April that community policemen found outside their designated localities with arms would be detained; this apparently was in part a response to self-defence groups' support for recent teachers' protests in Guerrero. The decision was taken by the Guerrero Coordination Group including municipal and state authorities, the armed forces and state and local police, Excelsior reported on 14 April.

FARC, ELN fighters killed, caught, amid fighting in Colombia

Three soldiers and five guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were killed in fighting in southern Colombia on 12 April; the army declared there could be more casualties as fighting continued that day near the district of Puerto Rico in Caquetá, Agence France-Presse reported. Colombian sources counted two casualties among troops. Three FARC fighters including a commander were separately reported to have surrendered to authorities that day or before, in the northern department of Santander. The senior guerrilla was identified as Fabián, head of the FARC's Front 20 and coordinator of extortions, kidnappings and assassinations in the departments of Santander, César and Bolívar, Caracol radio reported. Authorities suspected Fabián as having ordered the assassination of five soldiers between 1998 and 2002 in the northern Magdalena department. He informed troops of the location of several arms caches and handed over documents about Front 20, Caracol reported. Two other guerrillas surrendered in the department of Risalda north-west of the capital Bogotá, both from the FARC's Aurelio Rodríguez Front active in Risaralda and the western department of Chocó, El Tiempo reported. One, a junior officer dubbed Beto, said he decided to flee with his partner, a female fighter dubbed Marbel or Maribel, when he learned he was to be court-martialed. He said his Front commander was injured in recent army bombardments, and the Front was "weakened" and lacked sufficient arms and recruits. The army suspected Beto as involved in the murder of the mayoress of San José del Palmar in the Chocó department in 2007, El Tiempo reported. Authorities captured another guerrilla chief dubbed Iván Contreras, at an unspecified date in the central district of Ibagué; he was suspected of running extortions and "financing" operations for the FARC in the departments of Huila and Tolima, Caracol reported on 13 April. Iván Contreras was to face charges relating to murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy, a police spokesman said. In the jungles of Chocó, troops destroyed two camps belonging to the other guerrilla force National Liberation Army (ELN), killed a fighter and captured another from its Manuel Hernández el Boche Front, Caracol reported on 13 April. The operation took place in the district of Tadó; five local children aged 10 to 17 years - which the ELN were said to have forcibly recruited - were taken from the camps and handed to welfare officials.