Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Civilian militias stop Mexican army near Acapulco

*Updated Aug. 5*
Acapulco, Guerrero -
On the Mexico City to Acapulco highway today, about 500 local autodefensas blockaded the road to stop advancing federal troops, whom they contend are in the area to disarm them.

The events follow six ambushes yesterday against Federal Police convoys in neighboring Michoacán state, which left 22 persons dead, most of them assailants. The government has not said who was responsible for the guerrilla style attacks. Michoacán erupts; 22 dead as regional violence escalates.

"We don't want the federals here," said one man. "The Mexican army didn't come to our town to do social work."

Late breaking news reports from the scene say that some soldiers have been taken into custody by militiamen. The same thing happened in Guerrero two months ago.

Since May the new PRI administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto has been trying to restore public order in the two state region, where competing drug cartels and citizen militias called policias comunitarias are locked in a deadly struggle. Fiasco in Michoacán suggests little has changed under new government, while security prognosis remains poor.

Guerrero exploded in April, when striking school teachers went on a rampage over a constitutional amendment which will change the way they are evaluated for professional competency. Guerrero on verge of civil meltdown, as teachers riot. A legal effort by the teachers to overturn the amendment was rejected by a federal court in June. Citizen militias have frequently marched with teachers, allegedly to protect them while they exercise their right to assemble and demonstrate.

Many claim the comunitarias are providing security which the state and federal governments have failed to deliver. Autodefensas allege that local police forces are corrupt, and have been thoroughly infiltrated by drug cartels. But opponents contend the civilian militias are nothing more than armed gunmen on the payroll of cartels. Whatever the truth, citizen police units in their ragtag uniforms and armed with a motley collection of weaponry present a growing threat to stability in the region, and to the national authority of the Peña Nieto government. Mexico's drug war enters its 80th month next week.

Aug 5 - Tensions rose again today when citizen militias "detained" 150 Mexican army regulars in Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero. The soldiers are trying to disarm civilian police wherever they find them, but sometimes locals blockade highways, preventing military forces from moving about. Army units are under strict orders to use no violence against the militias. Disaster could result if they did.

Apr. 11 - Mexico's troublesome policías comunitarias will prompt some to argue Failed State theories
Apr. 26 - A bankrupt Acapulco can't meet its payroll

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment