A truck burns on a highway in Michoacán Friday. A truck burns on a highway in Michoacán Friday.

Cartels burn vehicles, block highways in 5 Michoacán municipalities

Authorities report that 11 blockades were cleared on Friday

After a confrontation with members of the National Guard in Aguililla, warring cartels in Michoacán burned vehicles and blocked highways in five municipalities.

Authorities reported 11 roads blocked by vehicles, some of which were set on fire, in the Tierra Caliente region on Friday. The municipalities affected were Apatzingán, Buenavista, Parácuaro, Tepalcatepec and Aguililla.

The 11 blockades were removed and the roads reopened, authorities said. Authorities added that they were the cartels’ response to security operations carried out by state police.

The confrontation in Aguililla involved a shootout between the National Guard and members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), and led to the CJNG burning two vehicles to prevent more security forces from entering the area, the newspaper El Universal reported. It is not yet known if there were any casualties.

National Guard and state police were also attacked with sticks and rocks by residents of El Terrero, a community in Buenavista. Then around midday, groups of presumed cartel members began to blockade the roads connecting Apatzingán to Buenavista, Parácuaro, Tapalcatepec and Aguililla.

CJNG rival Cárteles Unidos blocked roads in seven places in Apatzingán, Buenavista and Parácuaro. In Apatzingán, a store was burned by a group of armed individuals who threatened to burn more commercial buildings.

Later in the day the violence spread to the state capital of Morelia, where three cars were reported burned including a police vehicle.

The Tierra Caliente region has become the epicenter of a cartel turf war in recent months, forcing families from at least a dozen communities in the municipalities of Aguililla and Buenavista to flee the violence.

Sources: El Universal (sp)

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