Tue, Jan 30, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Mexico to send troops to stem violence after record 25,000 murders last year


A police officer stands guard as personnel from the Guerrero state attorney’s office work next to a car that was found with three incinerated bodies inside on the outskirts of Acapulco in Mexico on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Mexican officials on Sunday said that the government was set to unleash a new wave of troops to crack down on criminal groups in regions where a surge in violence led to more than 25,000 murders last year.

Mexican National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said that federal police troops would work with local officials to round up known major criminals and bolster investigations.

The aim is “to recover peace and calm for all Mexicans,” he said.

He did not provide details on the number of federal police to be deployed.

More than 25,000 murders were recorded last year as rival drug gangs increasingly splintered into smaller, more blood-thirsty groups after more than a decade of a military-led campaign to battle the cartels.

Violence is a central issue ahead of the presidential election in July.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party is trailing in third place in recent polls.

Sales said federal police troops would be deployed in the states of Colima and Baja California Sur, the resort town of Cancun and the border city of Ciudad Juarez, among others.

He said more details would be forthcoming within days.

Earlier this month, the US slapped its most stringent travel warnings on the states of Colima, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Guerrero, ranking them as bad as war-ravaged Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

At least 25 people were murdered in Mexico this weekend, according to officials and local media, including nine men who were executed at a house party in a suburb of the wealthy northern industrial city of Monterrey.

Masked assailants burst into a home in San Nicholas de los Garza as a group watched a local soccer team play on television, state prosecutors said.

Seven were killed at the scene and two more died later at a hospital.

An official with the prosecutor’s office in Nuevo Leon State said that at least 20 people were at the home on Saturday night in San Nicolas de los Garza, a northern suburb of Monterrey.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to safety concerns.

Prosecutors believe the motive was a dispute over local drug dealing.

In the evening, Nuevo Leon Prosecutor Bernardo Gonzalez Garza announced that a 32-year-old suspect armed with a handgun had been detained in the case.

There were a wave of attacks in night spots late on Saturday and early on Sunday.

A group of armed men killed three people in a bar in the resort city of Cancun, a Chilean tourist was killed in the Pacific beach resort of Acapulco and two more were killed in a bar in the capital of Veracruz State.

Six more were killed in the border city of Ciudad Juarez and four more died in the border state of Tamaulipas, where at least 10 were killed during the week at outlaw road blockades and in shootouts, local media reported.

In other news from Mexico, a 17-year-old university student whose disappearance after being detained by police prompted an outcry on social media and a protest at a central monument has been located, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said late on Sunday.

Earlier, authorities placed two officers under “provisional” arrest in connection with the case.

Mancera said that authorities had received a telephone call saying a person fitting the description of Marco Antonio Sanchez Flores was seen in the municipality of Melchor Ocampo, in the neighboring State of Mexico, and the youth was now in the company of police there.

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