lunes, 17 de marzo de 2014

Violence curbed, but continues in western Mexican state

Mexican media and authorities put at 80 the number of criminal killings perpetrated in about a year in the 24 municipal districts of the state of Michoacán controlled by the anti-crime militias that emerged there in 2013. The militias arose on the back of public anger at the depredations of organised crime in Michoacán and authorities' apparent impotence, but internal rivalries leading to violence have increasingly caused at least some of the 80 killings in municipalities that were supposed to be rid of crime. The figures were for the period February 2013 to the end of January 2014. The district cited as having had most murders since 24 February 2013 when militias appeared there, was Buenavista Tomatlán, the setting of recent rivalries between two prominent militiamen, Milenio reported on 17 March, citing figures from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, an Interior Ministry agency. The daily presented a chart of killings in the relevant municipalities and period. It was not immediately clear how much crime had fallen in these areas after the state's main cartel, the Caballeros Templarios, were expelled. Milenio put the average monthly murder rate in areas with militia presence at 6.6 in the period cited, or 1.5 criminal killings a week. By comparison it cited the district of Apatzingán, once "the state's most violent district" and a stronghold of the Templarios, as having one killing a week or 4.5 a month before February 2013. Critics warned early on that the militias could end up replicating the criminal conduct of gangs or permit crime to corrupt them. One of the national newspapers, Reforma, cited the names of several prominent militiamen suspected of crimes including murder and drug trafficking, or with criminal records in Mexico and the United States. The review Proceso cited the report and some of the names, while the website Animal Político cited a leading militiaman as demanding proof of the allegations.

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