State police chief Sánchez speaks after his release. State police chief Sánchez speaks after his release.

Oaxaca police chief freed after 4 days; mayor apologizes

Chief tells residents there will be no repercussions

The head of Oaxaca’s state police was released after being held hostage for almost four days by residents of Santa Catarina Juquila.

Following his release, José Sánchez Saldierna declared before a crowd of Juquila residents that he never considered that he was being held against his will, and that he spent the time in the municipal headquarters working to solve the conflict with the neighboring municipality of Santiago Yaitepec.

Sánchez said no formal complaints would filed against those who apprehended him on Monday, while Mayor Francisco Zárate offered him an apology.

Sánchez and another state police official were apprehended after arriving on Monday to mediate the conflict, which escalated on February 3 when residents of Yaitepec blocked roads leading to Juquila, preventing access to that town’s popular religious shrine, the Virgin of Juquila.

The municipality of Yaitepec claims ownership of 500 hectares of land within Juquila, including the location of El Pedimento, the shrine to the virgin.

In the hours leading up to Sánchez’s release, representatives from both municipalities met in Oaxaca city with a state government official and reached a preliminary agreement after 10 hours of negotiation.

Yaitepec residents will now vote to decide if the blockades they set up nearly a month and a half ago are to be lifted.

It is the second time in a month that an agreement was reached, but the first didn’t last.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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