Sunday, June 23, 2024

6 killed in Chiapas shooting, including mayoral candidate

A mayoral candidate was one of six people shot dead in the municipality of La Concordia, Chiapas, on Thursday, the second mass killing in the southern state this week.

Lucero López Maza, mayoral aspirant for the Partido Popular Chiapaneco in La Concordia, was killed along with one other woman, a girl and three men, according to the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office (FGE).

The FGE said in a statement that “a confrontation occurred between armed civilians during a campaign political event with the presence of the candidate … Lucero López Maza.”

However, several media reports said that the candidate was shot as she was traveling in a vehicle after a campaign event. It was unclear whether gunmen specifically targeted her. Video footage showed bodies on the ground and inside a car at a gas station in the municipality.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Friday that the candidate’s sister was among those killed in La Concordia, a municipality in the south of Chiapas adjacent to Chicomuselo, where 11 people were killed in a massacre last Sunday.

Chiapas authorities open criminal investigation

The FGE said it had begun an “investigation against the person or persons responsible for the acts of violence in which six people lost their lives.”

The president said on Friday that the candidate’s sister was another victim of the mass shooting. (lopezobrador.org.mx)

The FGE said that it was alerted to the killings by a local 911 emergency center that reported “a confrontation between armed civilians at the crossroads in the Independencia neighborhood in the municipality of La Concordia.”

“Officers with the State Preventive Police, as first responders, confirmed the death of six people: three females, one of whom was a minor, and three males,” the FGE said, adding that two people received gunshot wounds.

La Concordia is part of a region of Chiapas where the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and their local affiliates have been involved in a turf war for some time. There was a gun battle between cartel operatives and the National Guard in the municipality last month in which around 25 civilians were killed, according to the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center.

López Obrador, who held his Friday morning press conference in Tapachula, Chiapas, said that López Maza — unlike a mayoral candidate who was murdered in Celaya, Guanajuato, last month — had government protection.

López Maza speaks at a campaign event before her death.
López Maza speaks at a campaign event before her death. (Gaby Coutino/X)

Alleged connections to organized crime

The newspaper El Financiero reported that the slain candidate’s father, Ataulfo López Flores, is a rancher in La Concordia and that a criminal group set his ranch on fire a few weeks ago, torched vehicles and killed several workers. It also said that López Flores has been accused of “belonging to an organized crime group that’s fighting against another” group for control of local territory.

The Sinaloa Cartel and the CJNG are competing to control routes along which narcotics, weapons and migrants are transported north after entering the country from Guatemala.

At least three other mayoral candidates have been targeted in gun attacks in Chiapas this year, but they all survived. Another attack earlier this month targeted Juan Gómez Morales, candidate for the Chiapas United Party in the municipality of Benemérito de las Américas. He survived, but the attack killed his son and a candidate vying to become a municipal councilor.

The think tank Laboratorio Electoral reported last Friday that 63 people “linked to the [current] electoral process” had been murdered.

Of that number, 32 were registered candidates or aspired to contest the June 2 elections at which Mexicans will elect some 20,000 municipal, state and federal representatives.

With reports from El Universal, El Financiero and AFP 

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