Mexican Federal Forces fail to disarm vigilantes

Mexico vigilantes refuse disarming

Wed, 15 Jan 2014 17:38:49 GMT

Mexican federal forces and vigilante groups have failed to strike a deal on disarming amid a deadly showdown in Mexico’s western Michoacan state.

Federal and state government officials met with “self-defense” groups leaders on Tuesday, announcing that they failed to convince the vigilante groups to lay down their arms in their fight against drug cartels.

As an alternative, Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said the government was offering police jobs to qualified members of the self-defense forces.

The spokesman for the vigilante movement, Estanislao Beltran, discounted the offer, saying “We don’t want jobs as policemen. We’re fighting for the freedom of our families.”

“We have to be discreet with our weapons and not move up and down the highways with them,” said Hipolito Mora, leader of a self-defense group.

The talks come after soldiers clashed with villagers in Michoacan state on Monday, leaving seven civilians dead in the town of Mugica as well as three soldiers and two civilians dead in Paracuaro.

The melee forced the government to announce that it would be taking over security responsibilities in the region.

Meanwhile, an unidentified federal officer said they had no orders to disarm anyone, or attempt to take towns held by established vigilante groups.

Michoacan state is a rich farming area that is a major producer of limes, avocados and mangos, where vigilante groups began last year in a bid to clear the area of the Knights Templar drug cartel.

Towns formed the vigilante groups, arguing that local police were unable to stop the cartel’s murders and kidnappings.

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