Monday, March 4, 2024

Red Cross will have security after ambulance held up at gunpoint

Nobody is immune from the wave of violence engulfing Salamanca, Guanajuato: Red Cross ambulances will now be accompanied by police on high-risk emergency calls after paramedics were threatened by armed men.

A Red Cross ambulance responded to a call for assistance late Saturday afternoon in the neighborhood of San Roque, where a man had been shot.

On its way to a hospital, the ambulance was halted by a group of men who forced the paramedics at gunpoint to hand over their patient. The whereabouts of the wounded man are unknown, the newspaper El Universal reported.

In light of the incident, the Salamanca Red Cross announced yesterday morning that it was suspending all of its medical services in the city and appealed for people’s understanding.

“All of us who are volunteers in this noble institution believe in its mission . . . but at this time we must take care of our safety. We are also parents, children and siblings,” the organization said in a message posted to social media.

However, after a meeting between the Red Cross and authorities yesterday afternoon, Salamanca Mayor María Beatriz Hernández Cruz announced that the organization would resume its ambulance services immediately and that its other medical services would recommence today.

In a statement, Guanajuato Public Security Secretary Alvar Cabeza de Vaca Appendini said that an agreement had been reached for police to “accompany Red Cross ambulances in high-risk and high-impact call-outs” in Salamanca.

The city is home to one of Mexico’s six oil refineries and borders Villagrán, the municipality where the powerful Santa Rosa de Lima fuel theft cartel is believed to be based.

The gang is believed to be responsible for leaving a vehicle containing explosive devices in front of the Salamanca refinery in January on the same day that a narco-banner was found warning President López Obrador to remove federal forces from Guanajuato or innocent people will die.

Last month, 16 people were killed in a night club in the same neighborhood where the man was shot Saturday. Members of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel were allegedly behind the attack.

Federal and state security forces carried out an operation last month aimed at capturing suspected cartel leader José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez Ortiz but although several arrests were made, the fuel theft capo remains at large.

Guanajuato recorded 3,290 homicides in 2018, a higher figure than any other state in the country.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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