viernes, 23 de agosto de 2013

Colombian troops shoot guerrillas, mayor detained for drug ties

Colombian troops shot dead three guerrillas in fighting on 23 August in the northern department of Córdoba and the west-coast department of Chocó. The Defence Ministry reported the killing of a commander of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the district of Bagadó in Chocó, a man dubbed Darwin, Walter or Ñarro and described by the Ministry as a fighter of more than 20 years; he was identified as commander of the Manuel Hernández el Boche front, a unit of the ELN's Western War Front. Troops also shot dead in the district of Tierralta in Córdoba two members of Front 58 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The army identified one of them, a 25-year-old, as an "important bombmaker" for the FARC, Radio Santa Fe reported. On 23 August President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón ordered the state's envoys to leave Havana and return to Colombia after FARC negotiators interrupted ongoing peace talks to "analyse" a possible national referendum concerning the talks' results, el Colombiano reported. The FARC suggested resuming talks on 26 August but Mr Santos said talks would resume when Colombia deemed it suitable; he said "in this process the FARC are not the ones to determine breaks or set conditions," el Colombiano reported. State agents separately arrested 10 including a mayor and two policemen suspected of drug trafficking and working with two of the continent's main drug cartels, Radio Santa Fe reported on 23 August. The detained were suspected to have sent some 100 tonnes of cocaine a year toward Central America, the United States and European countries over an unspecified time, and to have had ties with the Sinaloa and Zetas cartels as well as the FARC and local gangs. One of the detained - variously caught in districts including Bogotá, Cali and Medellín - was identified as the mayor of Milán in the southern department of Caquetá, Radio Santa Fe reported.

Mexican militiamen react to colleagues' arrests

Members of self-styled community police forces from the state of Guerrero in western Mexico briefly marched on 22 August to demand the release of between 13 and 30 colleagues detained earlier, these including the community police chief of Olinalá, Nestora Salgado García; they were however blocked by troops and police, Mexican newspapers reported. The attempted march was one of several actions including blocking roads, undertaken in protest at the arrests of militiamen by troops on 21 August. State authorities had accused Ms Salgado of kidnapping a municipal official from Olinalá on 15 August, and he was identified as one of several people detained by the community police in the locality of El Paraíso and released on 21 August. Locals have accused many local officials and police of helping criminal gangs, hence the formation of militias and arbitrary arrests. Some 50 members of CRAC (Coordinadora Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias), a body coordinating local "community police" forces, sought on 22 August to march from Tixtla toward the state capital Chilpancingo, though it was not clear if Ms Salgado and others were held there, Milenio reported. Other militiamen were reported to have taken over the municipal building of Ayutla de los Libres, locking its doors, and taking away police cars and apparently 20 or 22 policemen and a municipal official, Milenio reported. These it appeared were being held ahead of talks the state government may hold with the militias, Proceso reported on 22 August. It observed that secondary schoolchildren and teachers participated in the protests and road blocks that day.