Transportation and courier services have been suspended for several days in Guerrero’s Tierra Caliente region after last week’s confrontations among security forces, criminal gangs and self-defense militia groups.
Things came to a head early last Wednesday when the Tequileros and the Familia Michoacana gangs clashed in a gunfight in San Miguel Totolapan, with a tally of eight people dead and four wounded.
Before federal and state security forces managed to take control of the situation on Friday, there were several confrontations with the people of San Miguel and neighboring municipalities.
The situation remained tense throughout the weekend. According to reports by the state government, groups of citizens pressured by crime gangs mounted several roadblocks using some 100 hijacked vehicles.
They included 11 buses, 26 large trucks, six semi-trailers, 46 Urvan passenger vans, 38 taxis, a tow truck and a private car, many of which were set on fire.
Hampering efforts to clean things up was the refusal by tow truck operators to offer their services, said Guerrero security spokesman Álvarez Heredia, who said gas station operators were equally unhelpful, refusing to sell fuel to police forces.
Many other commercial activities have also been halted in the nine municipalities affected: Ajuchitlán del Progreso, Arcelia, Coyuca de Catalán, Cutzamala de Pinzón, Pungarabato, San Miguel Totolapan, Tlalchapa, Tlapehuala and Zirándaro.
But the mayor of Tlapehuala, David Calderón, said the situation was getting back to normal yesterday.
“On Friday, Saturday and Sunday shops remained closed, opening today, Monday,” he told the newspaper Reforma.
Calderón expects that people will still remain indoors after nightfall “because of fears that there will be new outbreaks of violence.”
Since there is no bus service, people are getting around in their own vehicles and taxis.
The Estrella de Oro and Estrella Blanca bus lines have announced that service to the Tierra Caliente region is suspended until further notice. That means service has been halted between the state capital of Chilpancingo and the neighboring state of Michoacán.
Beer and soft drink delivery trucks are avoiding entering seven of the nine municipalities because of the fear of more violence.
Reforma reported that sentiment among people of the area is that despite the presence of Army personnel and police, warring criminal organizations could resume fighting at any moment.
Source: Reforma (sp)