Two residents of Ecatepec, México state, came forward on Wednesday to report that they had been physically and sexually assaulted the night before by members of the National Guard.
A young man identified only as Ezequiel said he was walking home from work Tuesday night in Ecatepec, just outside the border of Mexico City, when a National Guard patrol stopped him. After men in uniform told him to get in the vehicle they put a bag over his head, accused him of selling drugs and took him to another location, he said in an interview with the news site and México state TV channel Telediario.
After the vehicle stopped they beat him with a wooden board, inserted a weapon in his anus and threatened to kill him, Ezequiel said. After the beating, the men took some of his possessions and left him at the Plaza Las Américas, 15 kilometers north of where they picked him up.
A few hours later early Wednesday morning, the same guardsmen allegedly assaulted another Ecatepec resident a few kilometers from the site of the first assault.
Virginia said she was in her home in the El Mirador neighborhood when the attackers forced their way in without showing her a warrant for search or arrest. One man frisked her before penetrating her vagina with his fingers, leaving her bleeding, she said.
Victims speak on camera about their arrests by National Guardsmen.
#AzucenaALas10 | Un hombre y una mujer acudieron a la fiscalía anticorrupción de Ecatepec, #EdoMéx, para denunciar abusos físicos y sexuales por parte de varios elementos de la Guardia Nacional pic.twitter.com/jMaEJMZAfe
— Azucena Uresti (@azucenau) March 4, 2022
The men dragged her out of her home and walked her to a nearby abandoned house. After two hours they left the building and she fled, she reported.
Security footage from that night showed men in National Guard uniforms and a patrol vehicle arriving at a house. In the video, someone inside opened the door of the house to allow two apparent National Guard members inside. Then other uniformed men pulled Virginia into the house, dragging her by her hair and clothing.
The two victims met by chance Wednesday morning, when they both showed up to a local office of the state prosecutor to report the crimes. After realizing they had similar experiences, Virginia showed him the security footage. He recognized one of his attackers in the video, he said.
After completing medical examinations, Virginia filed a report of rape and Ezequiel filed a report of unlawful detention and theft with the state Attorney General’s Office.
The National Guard released a statement on Twitter Thursday night saying that personnel from the internal affairs department had begun investigations in light of “possible unlawful acts by members of our institution in Ecatepec.” The statement thanked the publication that first published information on the alleged crimes and promised that any action violating the principles of the National Guard would not be tolerated.