Before gangsters ambushed and killed 13 state police in Michoacán on Monday, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) threatened to retaliate if officers didn’t agree to work for them.
The threats made by CJNG members in Aguililla – the municipality where the ambush occurred – began four days ago, according to a report published on Wednesday by the newspaper El Universal.
Police officers said the criminal organization made contact with middle-ranking commanders in the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán.
The cartel wanted police to provide protection that would allow CJNG leader Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes to return to his home town in Aguililla.
The cartel members told police that if they refused to cooperate, they would kill all officers who entered territory under their control.
Police who spoke with El Universal said that while on patrol last Friday, they became aware via radio communication that an armed group was about to intercept them. That allowed the officers to change their route and avoid being ambushed.
However, luck was not on the side of a contingent state police deployed Monday to Aguililla, who came under attack by armed men traveling in several trucks. Narco-banners left at the scene in the community of El Aguaje were signed by the CJNG.
Governor Silvano Aureoles blamed Aguililla Mayor Osvaldo Maldonado for the police massacre, claiming that he hadn’t signed a security agreement with the state government
However, the mayor refuted the allegation, stating that he personally signed a “unified command” agreement in September last year.
Maldonado also said that he was told by the state government that there would be meetings with mayors to discuss security issues in different parts of Michoacán. But the meetings never took place, he said.
Friends and families of the slain police officer blamed state authorities at a memorial yesterday, where yells of “Killer!” greeted Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles, who called on President López Obrador to confront the violence in the state.
Several families refused to participate in the event, accusing authorities of attending only to have their photos taken.
One of the police officers who survived the attack has questioned the length of time it took — about an hour, according to media reports — for the army and the National Guard to send support to the officers who were attacked.
He also said they were ill-prepared: several officers were not armed for a gun battle, carrying only their sidearms.
The army has since bolstered its presence in the state’s notoriously violent Tierra Caliente region.
National Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said that 80 soldiers including military commanders from Apatzingán are carrying out reconnaissance to locate those responsible for the police killings.
Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo said state authorities are in charge of the investigation but the federal government is offering support.
Meanwhile, the Michoacán Commission of Human Rights issued an urgent call to the federal Security Secretariat to attend to the security situation in the state.
Commission president Víctor Manuel Serrato Lozano urged the federal government to provide its full support to Michoacán. The citizens of Michoacán are demanding the provision of public security as a human right, he said.
Former self-defense force leader Hipólito Mora claimed on Tuesday that cartels are being allowed to operate with impunity in the state and urged the federal government to change its security strategy.
Source: El Universal (sp)