martes, 21 de mayo de 2013

Army sent to fight crime in western Mexico

The Mexican government sent about 1,000 army and navy troops on 19 May to the worst parts of the crime-infested state of Michoacán, gripped in recent months by criminal violence and a state of near-war in parts between drug cartels and armed residents. The troops were sent to the sector called Zona Caliente where they were to patrol some of the most troubled districts, namely Buenavista Tomatlán, Coalcomán, Apatzingán and la Ruana; food and supplies had to be taken to districts that have effectively faced siege conditions from gangs in recent months, El Informador reported on 20 May. It observed that in several districts the local population had expelled local authorities including police suspected to be collaborating with crime. This may have been the case most recently with the district of Coalcomán where armed men almost lynched several municipal policemen. In La Ruana residents lined the main street into the town and cheered soldiers as they drove in, Milenio reported on 20 May. Supplies had to be taken to that town, which was described as besieged so far by the cartel Caballeros Templarios, reported to be reacting to townsmen's decision to arm against crime. The leader of the local "community police," Hipólito Mora, agreed to suspend street patrols and let soldiers take over security in La Ruana, but stressed his group would not disarm but resume patrols if and when troops leave, Milenio reported. Michoacán's provisional state governor Jesús Reyna described the arrival of troops on 19 or 20 May as intended to restore normality to the state, which he declared was not in a "state of war," Proceso cited him as saying. The daily Provincia reported separately on 21 May, citing unnamed military sources, that some 5,000 federal forces may have been sent to the state in recent days including soldiers, marines and federal policemen.