miércoles, 1 de enero de 2014

Dozens killed around Mexico at close of 2013

No less than 26 people were reported shot in presumed criminal incidents around Mexico in the last days of 2013 and several were kidnapped, including a 12-year-old boy. In the west-coast state of Guerrero, two girls aged one and a half and 14 years were killed and three passengers injured, after gunmen shot at a car travelling between Tlalcozotitlán and Olinalá on 31 December, La Jornada reported. Eight people were reported killed that day in separate incidents in the northern state of Chihuahua. In Matamoros in north-eastern Mexico, five Catholic priests were reported to have disappeared, one apparently in early November, while another was beaten to death on 29 or 30 December, Proceso reported, citing "parish sources." That crime was attributed to "organised crime," Proceso stated. In the central Estado de México, five people were shot dead early on 30 December in the district of Acolman, while one man was shot dead outside a petrol station in Morelia, capital of the western state of Michoacán. He was identified as the father of a councilman or municipal official of the district of Tzitzio in Michoacán, Proceso reported. In the eastern state of Veracruz, gunmen shot dead four people and injured five in a bar in the district of Acayucan early on 28 December, while police found a man's body in nearby Agua Dulce on 27 December, Proceso reported. Two women were found shot dead that day in the Gustavo A. Madero sector of Mexico City, the review reported.  A man and a woman were reported killed in the east-coast state of Tabasco on 28 and 30 December, and a 12-year-old boy was reported kidnapped on 29 December outside Cárdenas in that state, by gunmen said to have worn police uniforms. The child was identified as related to three individuals shot in their home nearby on 13 December, Tabasco Hoy reported.

Observers see more murders in Venezuela, one of "five most violent" countries

The Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia, a body that monitors crime figures in Venezuela, gave a "conservative estimate" of some 24,763 "violent deaths" in Venezuela for 2013, and an "equally conservative" murder rate of 79 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants that year. It placed the country among the five most violent in the world, alongside Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica and the Ivory Coast. The body observed in a note on 26 December that 2003, a year reported to have seen 11,342 murders, was the last time the authorities freely provided figures on crime and murder figures. Venezuela's socialist government has increasingly pressured the private media not to report on crime, alleging that such reports were provocative and depressing for the public. The Observatory stated that crime increased more in larger cities than in towns in 2013, and that men were far more likely to be killed than women; murders were the cause of 12 per cent of all deaths in Venezuela in 2013, it stated. The website explained in its note its methodology for estimating killing rates given the difficulty of accessing government figures. The newspaper El Universal reported on 31 December no less than 568 killings in the capital Caracas for 30 days of December 2013, based on the body count at the capital's Bello Monte morgue; this meant a daily killing rate of 19. Fifty six of the victims died in the last weekend of 2013, El Universal reported.

Police say shooting deaths down in Colombia

Colombian Police General Jorge Nieto said shooting deaths fell seven per cent to 11,721 in 2013, from 12,827 in 2012, while gun-provoked injuries also fell slightly, Cali's El País reported on 31 December. General Nieto attributed the fall to intensified police checks in the preceding three months, which he said helped police detain 1,874 people with guns and confiscate 35,000 firearms, presumably throughout 2013. He named the cities with most shooting deaths as Cali, Bogotá, Medellín and Barranquilla in northern Colombia.

Colombian troops shoot ELN guerrillas, six FARC fighters surrender

Colombian troops shot dead five or six fighters or "urban guerrillas" of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and detained three in fighting on 30 December in the Norte de Santander department in north-east Colombia, Caracol radio reported on 31 December. The five, shot in the districts of Hacarí, El Tarra and San Calixto, were provisionally identified as involved in financing and logistical tasks for the Comandante Diego Company. AP reported six ELN casualties. It was not immediately clear if the shooting took place inside the towns, but the Army declared that some injured guerrillas were seen evacuated from two of the districts in vehicles and with local civilians used as "shields." On 29 December, six members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), after they said their superiors had threatened to kill some of them. The six, including a 19-year-old girl, surrendered to Ecuadorean police in the district of San Lorenzo in the north-western province of Esmeraldas, handing over arms and equipment, Caracol radio reported.