jueves, 30 de enero de 2014

Mexico to regulate militias in turbulent western state

Mexican and foreign media reported on 29 January that the Mexican Government signed a deal to recognise and regulate the activities of civilian militias in the western state of Michoacán, considerably reducing tensions between two sides engaged in fighting organised crime. The deal was reportedly eased by the recent arrest of a senior leader of the Caballeros Templarios cartel whose local terrorism pushed hundreds around Michoacán to take up arms from February 2013. Angry residents have formed militias elsewhere in Mexico, notably in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Estado de México. In the eight-part agreement the Government was to receive a list of the militias, their weapons were to be registered and members were to somehow join local police forces after the approval of municipal councils, Radio France Internationale reported on 29 January. The militias have disarmed local policemen in many districts for being corrupt or suspected collaborators of organised crime. The new security and policing chief for Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo Cervantes, was cited as recognising the militias' efforts against crime so far, and expressed hope the agreement would help the state restore law and order in Michoacán. Registration of militia members and their arms began on 29 January according to one of their main coordinators in Michoacán, Estanislao Beltrán. He told Mexico's Milenio Television that militias would also be checking that those taking up arms in Michoacán really were of the civilian militias and not gangsters, Milenio reported. Separately, troops shot dead a presumed member of the Templarios and arrested four in a gun fight on 29 January between the districts of Jiquilpan and Villamar, Milenio reported, citing EFE. Police also caught two suspected drug traffickers that day when their car broke down between Morelia and Pátzcuaro, though not after they had passed five previous police checkpoints. Seventy five kilograms of marijuana were found in their vehicle.