Thursday, June 13, 2024

Authorities deny alleged cartel confrontation in Chiapas

After local residents went public with a claim that 20 people died in a Jan. 4 clash between cartel members in Chiapas, state officials replied Tuesday that “there is no record that proves” it.

Media outlets this week carried the residents’ harrowing story, citing a letter and statements from locals, who claimed that a battle between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the rival Sinaloa Cartel had prompted “hundreds of families” to flee to the region.

Violence in the region has spiked as the CJNG and Sinaloa cartels compete for control of drug and people trafficking routes near the Guatemalan border. (Cuartoscuro)

The rival groups are said to be vying for control of human smuggling and drug trafficking routes in the mountains near the Mexico-Guatemala border.

In addition to roadblocks, checkpoints, shootings and the takeover of homes, the letter focused on a Jan. 4 incident in the mining community of Nueva Morelia that left “more than 20 people dead,” including two innocent local residents caught in the crossfire.

The situation in the municipality of Chicomuselo “lasted around seven hours, where the population remained in panic and anxiety, taking cover as best they could to protect their lives,” the letter noted.

Signed “Civil Society of the People of Chicomuselo,” the letter also denounced the lack of response from state and security officials.

A number of government forces, including those from the Army and National Guard, are stationed in the area. (Toño Aguilar/Cuartoscuro)

In reply, the Attorney General’s Office (FGE) in Chiapas rejected the citizens’ version of the deadly Jan. 4 incident.

“The personnel who are permanently deployed in the Sierra Mariscal area [which abuts the border with Guatemala] have not reported this confrontation in which 20 people supposedly died, and there is no report of hospital care, either,” PGE said in a statement.

“There was a record on Jan. 5 [of a] murder of a person in the vicinity of the municipal seat of Chicomuselo, but that does not correspond to this event,” the statement added.

PGE also noted “two permanent bases of operations” in the area: a coordinated effort among the National Guard, the state’s Ministry of Security and Citizen Protection (SSP) and the Army, and an operation of “military personnel … in different positions to provide security and tranquility to the population.”

PGE asked people “not to be carried away by biased publications that seek to destabilize or create disquiet among citizens.”

Residents responded by saying they are caught in the middle of a war and are scared for their lives. Many have not sent their children back to school this week out of fear.

“The dead are civilians and the burned cars belong to innocent people,” one person said in the magazine Proceso. “To cause terror among themselves, they have killed innocent people. In [Sonora and nearby El Escobillal] there is not a single inhabited house. All the animals were left loose in the streets. Pigs, dogs, chickens and horses all wander in the streets.”

With reports from La Jornada and Proceso

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