More than a year after they were forced to abandon their communities due to cartel violence, displaced residents of the Guerrero municipality of Leonardo Bravo sought assistance from federal and state security forces on Sunday so that they could return home.
After becoming aware that the National Guard, the army and state police had launched an operation in response to violent incursions into El Carrizal and El Naranjo over the weekend, residents traveled to the latter community to ask personally that security forces remain in Leonardo Bravo to protect citizens and repel armed groups that operate in and around Filo de Caballos, a town notorious for violence and the cultivation of opium poppies.
Accompanied by representatives of the Morelos y Pavón Human Rights Center, the residents set up a blockade to try to prevent the security forces’ departure.
According to a report by the newspaper Milenio, the federal and state security personnel argued that they couldn’t stay because they didn’t have orders to do so from their superiors.
After several minutes of heated discussion, the security forces persuaded the residents to lift their blockade so that they could leave.
Human rights center director Manuel Olivares Hernández said human rights representatives and residents followed the security forces “because we also had to leave the area for security reasons.”
The residents issued a plea to the federal government for the National Guard to return to their towns and take over security duties from community police.
They described their situation as desperate, explaining that they fear further attacks on their towns by criminal groups. Residents said that the body of an unidentified male youth was found in El Naranjo after an attack on the town Saturday morning.
Several criminal groups operate in Leonardo Bravo and the surrounding region including Los Rojos and Los Ardillos, which have engaged in a bloody turf war in recent years.
The suspected leader of the former gang was arrested in the municipality in August after a three-day confrontation between Los Rojos and 700 community police.
Violence has caused thousands of people to flee their homes in Guerrero, one of Mexico’s most violent states.
Source: Milenio (sp)