Soldiers arrived in Hacienda de Dolores after residents issued pleas for help. Soldiers arrived in Hacienda de Dolores after residents issued pleas for help.

At least 8 dead, 2 missing after community attempts to repel armed attack

Armed clashes in Coyuca de Catalán triggered by cartel's aim to log region's forests

At least eight men were killed and two women were abducted during clashes on Thursday between residents of a Tierra Caliente municipality in Guerrero and members of a criminal gang.

A resident of Hacienda de Dolores, a community in the municipality of Coyuca de Catalán, told the newspaper Reforma via the messaging service WhatsApp that townsfolk repelled an armed attack by a cell of the Familia Michoacana drug cartel and killed five of its members.

During the incursion, cartel members kidnapped two women who were still missing on Thursday afternoon, he said.

The resident told Reforma that there were other confrontations on a local highway and in the mountains and that Familia Michoacana members killed at least three men.

The bodies of the slain cartel members remained in the streets of Hacienda de Dolores late on Thursday, Reforma reported. Residents have requested that state and federal security forces be deployed to the town to ward off a return by the attackers.

An official from Los Guajes de Ayala, another small town in Coyuca de Catalán, said the Familia Michoacana wants to seize control of local communities because they want to log forests in the area. Javier Hernández said residents of Los Guajes had prevented an attempted incursion into their town and he has been calling for state and federal security support since last Sunday.

Women from the community of El Pescado posted a video to social media on Thursday in which they pleaded for government help in the face of a potential armed attack.

“We’re children and women here, … [the gang] took control of Hacienda de Dolores, kidnapped women and they’re threatening us that there will be gunshots today, tomorrow, every day,” one woman said.

She said that the approximately 40 men who live in the community had deployed to its outskirts to protect it from a possible attack. “We’re very afraid and we hope you help us,” the woman said.

After her appeal, soldiers arrived in El Pescado in an army helicopter on Thursday afternoon, Reforma reported.

Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo met virtually with state and federal security officials on Friday and said on Twitter that a joint strategy to attend to the problems in communities adjoining Michoacán – Coyuca de Catalán borders that state – had been established.

The Tierra Caliente region of Guerrero is notorious for opium poppy production, drug trafficking and cartel-related violence.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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