Friday, June 14, 2024

Extortion reported at six Guerrero schools, Ayotzinapa teacher college

Six schools in Guerrero have closed for the past two days due to extortion attempts against teachers.

The two preschools, two primary schools and two middle schools are located in Chilapa, a municipality 60 kilometers east of the state capital Chilpancingo that is notorious for crime.

Teachers say they have received phone calls from presumed members of criminal gangs who demand that they hand over their aguinaldo, or end-of-year bonus, in order to avoid harm.

In response, Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo urged teachers “to not succumb to hysteria” and said that state authorities would collaborate with the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) to conduct an investigation.

“In no way do I dismiss that threats may be occurring under the influence of crime but I think we [still] have to determine the real extent of the problem. We must review [the situation] and act with great responsibility,” he said.

The Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College, the educational institute attended by the 43 students who disappeared in 2014, also suspended classes this week after armed civilians showed up at the school and demanded a payment from the staff.

According to one teacher, the armed group burst into the school, located in the Guerrero municipality of Tixtla, after arriving in a vehicle on Tuesday afternoon.

They demanded a list of all the staff members that work at the Ayotzinapa college, including their home addresses.

Later, the teacher said, staff members received an e-mail demanding that they too leave the school and pay a cuota, or fee, once they have received their aguinaldo.

Teachers subsequently held a meeting at which they agreed to suspend classes and to request safety guarantees from the state government before returning to work.

Faced with the possibility of being extorted, they are also demanding that security measures be put in place before they receive their end-of-year benefits.

Some Ayotzinapa students, however, denied that armed men had entered the college, telling the newspaper Milenio that the school’s closure was a safety precaution following the abduction and murder of a former state police coordinator whose remains were found in Chilpancingo Tuesday night.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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