miércoles, 22 de mayo de 2013

Adviser says Mexican Government reducing criminal violence

Óscar Naranjo, the former Colombian National Police chief now advising the Mexican Government on fighting crime, spoke on 21 May of a decline in murders related to organized crime in Mexico, apparently attributable to the actions of the government headed by Enrique Peña Nieto. General Naranjo was reported as saying in Bogotá that there was a 17-18 per cent drop in cartel-related murders since the Peña presidency began on 1 December 2012; he was apparently relying on figures given out by the Mexican interior ministry (Gobernación) and concluded that the Meixcan government was "beginning to respond in an effective manner to social-type phenomena," presumably meaning crime, La Jornada reported on 22 May. Naranjo said there were 4,249 homicides "presumably linked to organized crime" in the four months from 1 December 2012, 685 killings or 14 per cent less than the 4,934 killings of similar characteristics for the same period in 2011-12.

Mexican army said to have "restored order" in crime-ridden Michoacán

The daily Milenio reported on 22 May that five days sufficed for the army to impose a measure of peace and security to the violent state of Michoacán in western Mexico, where armed locals had in recent months faced off criminal gangs but also harrassed local authorities suspected to be collaborators with crime. The daily observed that in three districts, Buenavista Tomatlán, Tepalcatepec and Coalcomán, the army retored order without firing a shot, while no violence related to organized crime, "ordinary" murders, marches or protests were reported through 16-22 May. On 16 May the Mexican Government sent General Alberto Reyes Vaca to Michoacán where he was to be the state's Public Security Secretary, with extraordinary powers being drawn up to give him command of local and state police bodies as well as thousands of troops and federal policemen sent to Michoacán to stamp out crime. Certain mayors who had fled their districts as armed local stormed municipal buildings were considering returning to their offices. Locals were however cited as saying that while the self-defence groups would not interfere with army operations they would retain their arms, fearing the return of the cartels once soldiers leave. Mexico's interior minister, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, said in the state capital Morelia on 21 May that federal troops would remain in Michoacán until there was peace in the state, and vowed there would be no "ceasefire or pact with organised crime," La Jornada reported. He was speaking after a meeting of the federal Security Cabinet attended by senior officials including the provisional Governor of Michoacán Jesús Reyna García, the Prosecutor-General of the Republic Jesús Murillo Karam and the Navy and Defence ministers. Osorio said the Government would build a new army base in southern Michoacán and invest money in social programmes and training for the state's police forces. La Jornada separately reported on 22 May that the Government had sent 2,500 soldiers to the state in preceding days; these were to undertake a range of security-related tasks.

Colombian authorities catch FARC commander, collaborators

Colombia's National Police reported on 21 May the arrest of four members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) including a local commander, in undated operations in the district of Buenos Aires in the southern department of Cauca. The detained were identified as the deputy-commander of the Manuel Cepeda Vargas Front, a guerrilla dubbed Horacio, and three other fighters whose noms de guerre were el Perverso, Gabriel el mocho and Chamorro, Caracol radio and the National Police website reported on 21 May. Bomb-making equipment was confiscated from the detained, the National Police chief José Roberto León stated. Police believe Horacio was involved in more than 160 attacks on civilians and state installations in his 18 years in the FARC. These included bomb attacks on the judiciary building in the city of Cali in 2008, on the offices of the radio broadcaster RCN in 2005, and attacks on four police stations that killed 12, the Police website reported. In separate operations in the districts of Medellín and Bello in Antioquia, police caught three suspected members of the FARC's Fifth Front, described as employed in propaganda and public relations, the National Police reported on 21 May. The FARC separately denied in a communiqué on 22 May any link with the kidnapping of two Spanish tourists in north-eastern Colombia, Radio Santa Fe reported. The tourists were said kidnapped on 17 May near the Cabo de la Vela point on the Caribbean coast, by individuals who later called to say they were from the FARC. The FARC's "foreign minister" Rodrigo Granda said in Cuba that all FARC units were following the directive issued on 20 February 2012 to end kidnappings for ransom.

Colombian police said "dismantled" two gangs in Bogotá

The head of Colombia's National Police José Roberto León Riaño told Caracol radio on 21 May that the police had effectively dismantled two of the capital's main criminal gangs by arresting "10 of their most dangerous members." The two gangs were dubbed Los Luisitos and Los Pascuales, and operated in the north-eastern district of Usaquén where they were thought to have engaged in some deadly fights in recent months. General León said the most "significant" arrest here was of one dubbed Luisito, a veteran criminal identified as the mind behind the killing of five members of the Pascuales in January 2013; he was found with cash and firearms in a house in southern Bogotá, Caracol reported. In the districts of Medellín and Bello in the north-eastern department of Antioquia, police and the state security agency detained four suspected arms traffickers thought to belong to a larger trafficking network, Caracol reported on 21 May. The detained, three women and a man, were suspected to be in a gang of 145 members supplying arms to criminals and similar customers; US authorities collaborated in investigations that led to their arrest. Police believe the suspects had shipped some of their weaponry by certified post. Police also caught two suspected kidnappers in the district of Turbo in Antioquia in an undated operations; a policeman was injured as the suspects fired from a house when they noticed the police arrive, the National Police reported on 21 May. The detained, also identified as hired killers and informants for one of the country's criminal gangs, were to face kidnapping and torture charges.