At Least 22 Dead in Mexico after Attacks in Michoacan

By Dialogo
July 25, 2013

Armed men attacked elements of the Mexican Federal Police in six villages of Michoacan – western Mexico – and blocked four roads, which resulted in 22 deaths from confrontations, the Ministry of Interior reported on July 23.

“At this time, we know of two fallen members of the Federal Force Division” and 15 others injured; “in addition to an estimated 20 alleged criminals killed,” the Ministry of Interior’s National Security Commission said in a statement.

According to the institution, the attacks were planned and started when four men armed with powerful rifles hidden in the hills attacked Federal Police members in the villages of Arteaga, Infiernillo and El Carrizo, located in the conflicted area of Tierra Caliente, where thousands of soldiers and federal agents were deployed in May.

The men, armed with rifles and fragmentation grenades, blocked roads with trucks that were set on fire in four road segments. One of these pathways was Siglo XXI, leading to the port of Lázaro Cárdenas, one of the busiest in the Mexican Pacific.

Government sent security reinforcements to the area in May, after a so-called “self defense force,” comprised of armed locals from Michoacan, one of the poorest states in the country, spread, saying they were tired of being harassed by Los Caballeros Templarios cartel, who extorts, kidnaps, and kills the population.

A wave of violence affected the region in recent days with a series of incidents, including the death of three police officers in Michoacan and five ambushed in the same Siglo XXI road, while four others were hanged in other villages.

Violence in Michoacan started eight days ago after the capture of Miguel Ángel Treviño, aka “Z-40”, leader of Los Zetas cartel –a bitter enemy of Los Caballeros Templarios–, a criminal organization that preaches a particular religious doctrine and whose main stronghold is Michoacan.