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News > Latin America

Clashes with Communitary Police in Mexico Leave Four Dead

  • Experts investigate the crime scene where four bodies were found in a burned pick-up in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. January 30, 2018.

    Experts investigate the crime scene where four bodies were found in a burned pick-up in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. January 30, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 30 January 2018

An armed group attacked the Peoples' Union and Organizations from the State of Guerrero Police after a kidnap. 

Yesterday, a commander, a counselor and two policemen from a community police unit in Guerrero, Mexico, were shot and burned, allegedly by a criminal organization.


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A rancher called Miguel Avila was kidnapped on Sunday in the Buena Vista community in Guerrero. The Peoples' Union and Organizations from the State of Guerrero (UPOEG) had pointed at his links with drug trafficking organizations, especially with “Los Ardillos”, a local cartel trying to seize control over the local poppy fields.

Family and friends of Avila from the Buena Vista community blamed the UPOEG for the kidnapping and blocked the Mexico-Acapulco main highway, demanding his immediate release and the exit of the community police.

For their part, the UPOEG has declared that Avila may have “kidnapped himself” to have an excuse for an armed clash in Valle de Ocotito and to break up alliances. The details of the kidnapping are still unknown.

At the time of the blockade, an armed group attacked the UPOEG's operation base in Rincon de la Via. The community police then chased the attackers, which panicked the local population.

Commander Arturo de Dios, his brother and counselor Mario de Dios and two community police guards who were part of the chase were ambushed by an armed group. They were shot and their pickup truck set on fire, burning their bodies with it.

The shoot-out was reported by locals, and the firefighters arrived to extinguish the fire.

The UPOEG has blamed “Los Ardillos” for the attack, and its leaders for the blockade and for allowing members of the criminal organization to pass and attack the community police.

“A few moments ago a group of people from Buena Vista de la Salud blocked our comrades to allow the entrance of the Los Ardillos armed group, who entered the El Rincon community, killing a commander, a municipality counselor and two more people,” read the official release of the UPOEG.


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The release also lists the names of those responsible for the blockade.

During the incident, other armed people shot at cars driving on the highway and four men and a woman were hurt. They arrived by their own means to near-by hospitals.

The school day was called off and children were sent to their homes.

The UPOEG was formed in 2011 as an organized civil group demanding better roads and public works. Two years later people from neighboring communities decided to take security into their own hands and organized an armed self-defense group after one of their leading members was kidnapped. 

They cite Constitutional article No. 39, which states the people have the right to decide the form of government that suits them best, along with No. 2, which gives indigenous people and communities the ability to rule themselves according to their traditional ways.

UPOEG organized patrols, covering their faces, and arresting and judging people linked to organized crime themselves. Different levels of government have both praised and criticized them, even linking them with criminal organizations.

There are around 13 different self-defense groups and community police outfits in Guerrero, supposedly organized to fight violence and protect their own people, and at least 20 criminal organizations and drug cartels fighting for control of the territory and its routes.

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