jueves, 18 de julio de 2013

Family of seven thought kidnapped south of Mexico City

Seven members of a family from Mexico City were suspected to have been kidnapped on 6 July in the state of Morelos south of Mexico City, apparently after travelling there to visit plots of land, media reported on 17 July, citing statements by the offices of the chief prosecutors of the capital and of Morelos. Relatives of the disappeared reported the disappearance in the capital on 10 and 11 July, Proceso reported. Prosecutors it stated were informed that seven adults and six children or teenagers went to the district of Oaxtepec at the invitation of a couple including a woman who was "an acquaintance of 13 years." She was found to have convictions for theft and "offences against health," possibly drug dealing or kidnapping. The children were left in a car in the city of Puebla where they were rescued on 7 July; relatives were cited as saying they had yet to hear from the couple. In the city of Reynosa on the US frontier, federal and state police rescued "81 migrants" said to have been locked up in a building there for several days, following an anonymous phone call, Milenio reported on 17 July. The group included 39 Hondurans, 38 Guatemalans and three Salvadoreans, Milenio reported.

Salvadorean President, chief prosecutor clash again over security

El Salvador's director of public prosecutions Luis Martínez was reported as denouncing on 17 July districts declared "free of violence" as "ganglands" where Mara gangsters continued to commit crimes as they pleased. In May Mr Martínez dismissed the truce or ceasefire the gangs began in 2012 as a farse, contradicting the Government's approval and apparently taking postures closer to government critics including the opposition ARENA party. Mr Martínez said it ws "suspect" that the "former authorities" of the Justice and Security Ministry had "cancelled several operations...to capture" Mara members he said belonged to 14 different criminal outfits active in "safe" districts. He was referring to the former Justice minister, now Minister of Defence, General David Munguía Payés. These were no safe districts Mr Martínez said, "more than anything these places are becoming like a Gangland and not really areas of safety, wellbeing and tranquility" for families, the website elsalvador.com reported. Mr Martínez reportedly termed such districts "parks" for gangsters. President Mauricio Funes denied that day that General Munguía had obstructed anti-crime operations, the website La Página reported. The Prosecutor's "information on the general's obstruction is not so...I met with the chief prosecutor a month ago and he did not complain about the general opposing" actions by police or the prosecution service, which he said had been suspended in cases "for logistical" reasons. Mr Funes said the prosecutor explained at their meeting that the Justice Minister could not in any case impede actions by the police and the state prosecution service.

Police confirm more violence in El Salvador, launch anti-crime actions with army

El Salvador's Police corroborated on 17 July earlier data indicating an increasing number of homicides in the country in spite of the ceasefire declared in March 2012 by the Mara street gangs. Police figures showed that the average daily number of homicides in July nationwide was 8.9, compared to 4.6 for July 2012, the Salvadorean daily El Mundo reported on 18 July, citing declarations by the national police chief Rigoberto Pleités Sandoval. Mr Pleités, who became head of the National Civil Police on 28 May, said that the total 1,190 homicides registered from 1 January to 16 July 2013 remained inferior to the 1,637 registered for that period in 2012. Police he said were doing everything to ensure "the numbers come down." Authorities admit the country has seen a re-surge in crime since late May, attributed in part to the renewal of rivalries between gangs, and the army and police began a joint operation on 11 July in districts most affected by resurgent violence, El Mundo reported. The daily cited a deputy-police chief Mauricio Ramírez Landaverde as saying that the operation, dubbed Medusa, was focused on  five deparments and zones including the sector north of the capital. El Mundo separately reported that the heads of the two main gangs - Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 - agreed on 17 July to "suspend acts of aggression" on themselves and residents of the district of Zacatecoluca south-east of the capital, following mediation efforts. This it stated was now the 11th district declared free of violence, although crimes are reported to have continued in certain other districts where the Maras had pledged to end violence. The mediator Raúl Mijango was cited as saying that Mejicanos, a northern suburb of the capital, was to become another "safe" district in "coming days."

Colombian troops detain 16 ELN rebels, FARC drug lab destroyed

Colombian authorities reported the arrests on 17 or 18 July of 16 members of the communist rebel force National Liberation Army (ELN) including two field commanders, "48 hours" after 30 ELN rebels surrendered to the state in the western city of Cali. The Army's Second Division caught the rebels in the district of Morales in the south of the department of Bolívar in northern Colombia; they included two captains dubbed Julián and el Calvo. The detained were taken to the city of Bucaramanga in the department of Santander, Bogotá's Radio Santa Fe reported on 18 July. The army separately found and destroyed in the southern department of Caquetá material and an installation or premises presumed to have been used for illegal drug production by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Ministry of Defence reported on 16 July.

Thirty guerrillas surrender in Colombia, one detained

Senior Colombian officials including President Juan Manuel Santos and his Minister of Defence personally received in Cali on 16 July a company of 30 former guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) who formally surrendered their arms and abandoned their fight against the Colombian state. President Santos said this was the "biggest demobilisation" of fighters in the ELN's history, praising the guerrillas for their decision and the armed forces for the relentless pressures exerted on the ELN, which the state has declared convinced the 30 to surrender. Media reported that state intelligence agents had visited the company's camp several times in preceding weeks, presumably to discuss the mechanics of a surrender. The guerrillas who demobilised at an army base in Cali constituted the Lucho Quintero Giraldo company of the ELN's South-Western War Front, the Defence Ministry reported. "I want to thank all the group, its commander aka Tiger, henceforth Mr Collazos and all of you. You took the right decision," the Presidential Office cited Mr Santos as telling them. He said the "state will receive you with all the guarantees we have promised," allowing them he added to begin to rejoin civilian and family life. The Defence Ministry separately reported on 17 July that troops caught a suspected head of a support or logistical network working with the ELN's Darío Ramírez Castro Front, active in the Bolívar department in northern Colombia. The detained was identified as Bautista his nom de guerre, and caught in the district of San Pablo in southern Bolívar, the Ministry reported. Bautista was being sought for suspected "financing" activities for the guerrilla that included drug dealing, extortion from local farmers and firms and the forcible recruitment of peasants.