miércoles, 28 de agosto de 2013

Mexican government faces defiant militias in Michoacán, Guerrero

The Mexican Government has recently appeared more determined to stamp out anti-crime militias formed by rural communities in the western state of Michoacán - one of the country's most crime-ridden areas - than the criminal gangs these have sought to resist. It was not clear however that moves to disarm "community police" forces had so far deterred certain communities from taking charge of their security when the state seemed unable to protect them. The review Proceso reported on 27 August the formation at an unspecified date of new self-defence forces in several localities of the districts of Buenavista and Apatzingán in Michoacán, these being trained by the self-defence groups of the districts of Tepelcatepec, Coalcomán, Aguililla, La Ruana and Buenavista. Militias were being formed in villages named as El Aguaje in Aguililla, División del Norte, Pinzándaro, Vicente Guerrero and San Juan de los Plátanos, Proceso reported. It cited a militia member José Manuel Mireles as saying that guards were already posted at village entry points and patrols sent to the surrounding countryside; "every day more villages in Michoacán are joining forces against organised crime...now in many districts we no longer pay quotas," he said, referring to monies gangs extorted from locals for activities ranging from farming to owning a car. Mr Mireles cited 24 February as the date when militias began to be formed in Michoacán, and said there was "no going back" in the fight against crime. In the neighbouring state of Guerrero, some 100 community policemen coordinated by the regional association (Policía Comunitaria de la Coordinadora Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias, PC-CRAC) took over the municipal building of Tixtla de Guerrero on 25 or 26 August, demanding the release of "over 20" community policemen arrested on 21 August and still in custody. The militiamen specifically wanted freed the community police coordinator of the district of Olinalá, Nestora Salgado García. Five municipal policemen were disarmed amid scuffling and the remainder of the town's police reportedly withdrew after initially pointing guns at the militia, Proceso reported. Ms Salgado was jailed for now in the north-western state of Nayarit. She faced possible kidnapping charges for the detention of six individuals suspected to be criminals, whom militiamen held for a while in the locality of El Paraíso, La Crónica de Hoy reported on 27 August.

Colombian guerrillas free Canadian hostage

Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) freed on 27 August Jernoc Wobert, the Canadian mining executive it kidnapped in the northern district of Norosí on 18 January, apparently after his firm met the ELN's demands. The ELN were cited as justifying the action, in which five others were kidnapped then released, as intended to force the firm to restore to local communities four mining licences allegedly acquired with bribery, Europa Press reported. It was not immediately clear where the firm worked, but it may have been in the Serranía de San Lucas area of the Bolívar department where the ELN was cited as declaring that foreign mining firms held "99 per cent" of licences. Radio France Internationale reported that the firm, Braeval, withdrew from areas it was exploring before the employee's release. Colombia's President welcomed the release as a step in the right direction, RFI reported, observing the move could pave the way for talks with the ELN similar to those begun with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.