Armed civilians in Cañada Morelos, Puebla, released 14 police hostages Wednesday after 17 hours of dialogue with authorities.
The state police officers had been held since Tuesday night by a group of 50 civilians, whom the governor described as train robbers, demanding the release of three individuals detained by the National Guard on weapons and robbery charges.
Puebla Governor Miguel Barbosa Huerta said the release was achieved through dialogue between authorities and the hostage takers.
“A few minutes ago the detained persons were freed in Cerro Gordo, Cañada de Morelos,” he said. “This thanks to the dialogue of a committee of the Secretariat of Public Security, the army, the National Guard and the attorneys general of the republic and the state.”
It was not revealed what the authorities offered in exchange for the hostages’ release.
Several hours earlier, Barbosa told a press conference that the hostage takers were in the business of highway and train robbery and operated under the direction of a former mayor.
Authorities arrested 17 citizens who were involved in the hostage-taking and setting fire to a police patrol car.
Barbosa insisted that the government of Puebla will continue to use communication to solve conflicts, rather than force.
“This dialogue with the community was done without negotiation or failure to apply the law. It is very satisfactory that this was resolved within the framework of the rule of law and with respect to human rights . . . In Puebla, we respect the law,” he said.
Meanwhile, respect for the law was not evident in the Cañada Morelos community of Llano Grande Wednesday evening.
While all attention was focused on the discussions to seek the release of the 14 police officers, about 200 residents placed obstacles on the tracks to halt a train and steal its cargo.
They made off with several tonnes of grain before National Guardsmen showed up.