lunes, 24 de junio de 2013

Mexican drug cartel accuses militia of conniving with crime

The drug cartel Caballeros Templarios, which is active in western Mexico, accused a recently-founded anti-crime militia of collaborating with rival gangs in the western state of Guerrero and advised authorities to stay out of its imminent bid to destroy these groups, the review Proceso reported on 23 June. Self-defence groups have emerged in several parts of Mexico in response to violent crime and official corruption, and more so in smaller and rural districts where residents have accused local police and authorities of cowering before the powerful cartels. In this case the Templarios hung sheets in the districts of Atoyac de Álvarez and Coyuca de Benítez accusing the group led by activist Leopoldo Soberanis Hernández of being a front for the gang dubbed Los Granados and the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel. The gang was described as an offshoot of the dismantled Beltrán Leyva cartel. These, the sheets read, were kidnapping "teachers, tourists, the elderly and making social activists and environmentalists disappear," which the Templars said they would not permit. The cartel told the Mexican state not to "meddle" as it proceeded to eliminate "these stains." According to Proceso the civilian militia's formation was announced during a protest on 20 June by residents of four districts of the Costa Grande sector of Guerrero. "More than 1,000" residents of Coyuca de Benítez, Atoyac de Álvarez, Benito Juárez and Tecpan de Galeana announced they would form the Citizens' Self-Defence Group (Grupo de Autodefensa Ciudadana) as they blocked the motorway linking Guerrero to the neighbouring state of Michoacán. Proceso cited the activist Leopoldo Soberanis as telling a telephone interview that the militia was the fruit of locals' disgust with state "indolence" toward violent crime and to alleged ties between local authorities and troops based in the district of Petatlán with the Caballeros Templarios. He said he wanted his group recognised by the state government and would seek to expand its activities to three more districts in Guerrero including Petatlán. The review observed that the militia's first protest coincided with an incipient tour by the Guerrero governor to promote the state as a tourist destination; Guerrero includes the resort of Acapulco.

Scores reported murdered around Mexico

The review Proceso reported some 40 violent deaths around Mexico in the days 20-22 June, most of these thought related to gang and drug violence. At least six were reported killed on 23 June. Three were men shot from a car after midnight in the district of Nezahualcóyotl in the Estado de México in central Mexico; a message was left beside them "supposedly" signed by the cartel La Familia MichoacanaProceso reported. Two women and a man said to be related, were also shot in that state hours later; they were gunned down while driving in the locality of San Martín Cuautlalpan near Chalco, Proceso reported. On 22 June police found three "charred" bodies in the district of Huitzilac in the south-central state of Morelos, while gunmen shot dead a shopkeeper in the district of Xochitepec in that state, Proceso reported. Seven were reported shot dead in Chihuahua in the northern state of Chihuahua that day: gunmen entered a house there and shot dead a girl and two boys - respectively aged 16 and 20 years or just under - while a gas delivery man there at the time was also shot dead, Proceso reported on 22 June. Three others were killed in separate incidents in the city, the review reported. A headless man was found that day on the edge of Mexico City and the district of Tlanepantla, Proceso reported, adding that an unspecified message was left beside the body. The review counted no less than 22 killings around the country over 20-21 June, these including eight suspected gangsters killed in a shootout between rival gangs in the district of Fresnillo in Zacatecas, and four unspecified individuals killed in a gun attack on marines in the northern district of Coahuila. The victims also included four employees of the office of the chief prosecutor of Sinaloa in north-western Mexico, shot while driving through the city of Guasave.

Colombian army shoots, detains FARC guerrillas

The Colombian army shot dead three presumed fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) including the head of its Front 45, in operations in the northern department of Arauca on 22 or 23 June. The fighters killed in the district of Tame were identified by their noms de guerre - Antonio Pescador the front commander, Marcos and Sofía who was described as "underage," likely a teenager; the army detained five other FARC fighters, a man and four women, the newspaper El Tiempo reported on 23 June. In the northern department of Norte de Santander, part of an oil pipeline was blown up on 21 or 22 June in the rural district of Tibú, in an act of sabotage attributed to the FARC's Front 33, Colombia's national radio reported, citing EFE news agency. The report observed that the districts of Tibú and Ocaña had in preceding weeks become the setting of protests by local peasants demanding a protected farming area and an end to the eradication of "illicit" cultivations; it was not immediately clear if this referred to coca farming - in which the FARC are allegedly engaged - and if the explosion and the protests were in any way related. The oil firm Petróleos del Norte reportedly stopped pumping oil as engineers and the army repaired the pipeline, although crude oil was said to have poured into the countryside in the locality of Petrolea.