Schools in six Chihuahua communities were closed after a gunfight between rival criminal organizations left two men dead earlier this week.
It was the second time in a month that schools in Las Pomas, El Largo Maderal, Chuhuichupa, El Oso, Santa Rita and Mesa del Huracán were forced to close due to violence related to organized crime.
The clash occurred in the community of Las Pomas, where 60 armed members of the criminal group known as La Línea arrived to attack a rival gang, according to the Chihuahua State Security Commission.
The attack was widely announced by the cartel and its presence in the area was evident before the attack, prompting citizens in Las Pomas and other communities in the municipality of Madera to post on social media and implore the government to intervene.
Many said they feared for their lives after they were ordered by armed civilians to remain in their homes.
Despite State Security Commissioner Óscar Alberto Aparicio’s declaration that officers were dispatched to the area as soon as they received reports, citizens claim that federal and state authorities ignored their pleas until nightfall.
The security commission released a statement saying it had initiated an operation in coordination with the army, Federal Police and National Guard in search of those involved.
Local media reported that one of the two victims of the shootout was Francisco “El Jaguar” Arvizu, plaza chief of the Sinaloa cartel in the region. However, Aparicio said the identities of the two men have yet to be confirmed.
Authorities also found seven vehicles at the site of the clash, three of which were completely burned.
Police forces will maintain their presence in the area to protect citizens and search for those involved in the shootout, Aparicio said.