miércoles, 24 de julio de 2013

Armed locals take over municipality in western Mexico

Members of a local self-defence group in western Mexico - one of several rural residents have formed around the country to fight crime - disarmed police and took over the municipal government of the town of Aquila in the state of Michoacán early on 24 July. "A dozen" policemen guarding the building were told to go home; the armed locals then hung a banner at the entrance of the building with the message "For a Safer Aquila" (Por una Aquila con mayor seguridad), La Jornada reported. The daily observed that this militia was formed in June 2013 and initially consisted of 100 members of the local indigenous population. Many from rural parts of Michoacán believe local authorities and police do little to fight crime when they do not actively help criminal gangs. In the coastal state of Guerrero south of Michoacán, members of a similar community police styled the Citizens' Security System (Sistema de Seguridad Ciudadana, SSC) exchanged fire with three suspected kidnappers in the district of Copala south of the resort of Acapulco. One suspect was injured and later taken to the locality of El Mesón, and two escaped into the hills, an SSC commander named Santos was cited as saying. He said the patrol confiscated arms and a list of the owners of local restaurants suspected to be targets of planned kidnappings, La Crónica de Hoy reported on 24 July.

Daily reports "historic" rise in kidnappings, extortion in Mexico in first half 2013

Authorities counted on average 125 kidnappings and 656 acts of extortion monthly in Mexico in the first six months of 2013, the daily Cambio de Puebla reported on 23 July, citing figures from the Interior Ministry's SNSP data system. The system compiled figures sent by 32 prosecutors' offices nationwide, and presumably excluded unreported crimes. Cambio qualified the figures as showing a "historic rise in both crimes" in the first months of the government led by Enrique Peña Nieto, which has sought to enhance intelligence work and coordination between state agencies in fighting crime. Forty per cent of the kidnappings were concentrated in four states where the drug cartel Caballeros Templarios "strengthened its presence," with the largest number reported in the western state of Michoacán. This was in spite of the increased presence of soldiers and police there since 20 May, the daily observed. Extortions it added occurred most frequently in Estado de México, the Federal District, Guanajuato north of the capital and the western state of Jalisco. The SNSP's figures showed that from January to the end of June 2013: there were 828,521 "high-impact" crimes such as theft, murder, kidnapping and assault, this being three per cent lower than the figure for 2012, but some 30,000 incidents more than in 2007, Cambio reported.

Police battle gunmen, 31 killed around Mexico

"At least six" gun battles between state forces and criminals around the western state of Michoacán left 22 dead on 23 July, Proceso reported, citing declarations by the Mexican interior ministry. The dead were said to consist of two policemen and 20 presumed criminals. The shootouts followed ambushes planned against police convoys or occurred at road blocks set up by gangs, the ministry's National Security Commission (Comisión Nacional de Seguridad, CNS) stated. It declared police repelled all the attacks at several points including two spots on the road between Apatzingán and Cuatro Caminos and at one point on the road between Lázaro Cárdenas and Uruapán. Mexico's Interior Minister (Secretario de Gobernación) Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong was separately cited as condemning the killing on 22 July of five civilians in the district of Los Reyes in Michoacán, in an attack attributed to the drug cartel Caballeros Templarios. Two or three of the five were identified as members of the local anti-crime militia; they were killed while 17 others were injured when gunmen shot at a crowd protesting against crime outside the municipal government of Los Reyes, Proceso reported. Eight people were separately shot dead on 23 July in the northern state of Chihuahua, six of them in a gunfight between suspected gangs outside the town of Guadalupe y Calvo, Milenio reported. Two of the bodies were decapitated and four found clad in police-type uniforms and bullet-proof jackets. A 38-year-old "businessman" was also shot dead on 23 or early 24 July in the city of Palenque in south-western Mexico, Tabasco Hoy reported, attributing the killing to the local mafia.