allende Youngsters walk past one of the houses destroyed in Allende.vanguardia

Allende death toll now 28, not 300

2 police, 2 gang members are in custody for the 2011 kidnappings and killings

Results of an investigation into a massacre in a town in Coahuila are coming to light more than three and a half years later. But there is a wide difference in estimates regarding the number of people killed.

In March 2011, according to reports earlier this year, gunmen belonging to the criminal gang Los Zetas arrived in the town of Allende, population 27,000, reportedly looking for two men suspected of betraying the gang in a cocaine deal.

Allende’s mayor said 300 people were taken away by gang members and never returned. In the process, Los Zetas bulldozed 34 houses, he said.

But yesterday state Attorney General Homero Ramos Gloria said the evidence uncovered to date reveals that only 28 people disappeared, of whom 11 were killed. Fate of the others is unknown, said Ramos Gloria.

At a press conference yesterday he said an intensive investigation involving more than 250 officials last January led to the discovery of 3,450 bone fragments. But the Federal Police scientific unit has determined that 2,977 of those are so badly burned that DNA result cannot be obtained.

Testing is being carried out on the other 473.

Ramos Gloria said the investigation has found that an unknown number of armed individuals, aided and protected by municipal police officers, arrived in both Allende and Piedras Negras on March 18 to conduct a search for a person suspected of betraying the gang.

After the search proved unsuccessful, they kidnapped 28 people believed to be connected to the subject of their search and looted and destroyed 48 houses, the Attorney General said.

Four people have been arrested in the connection with the case, two of them former officers in the municipal police and two members of Los Zetas. Warrants have been issued for another three gang members who are currently in custody in the United States.

Little was known of the Allende massacre until the beginning of this year, nearly three years after the fact, because residents were fearful of reprisals. Two local youths were reported to have been killed after they offered visitors a tour of the homes that had been destroyed.

Source: Proceso (sp)

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