A local security chief and 12 police officers were murdered in an ambush in the violence-ridden southern Mexican state of Guerrero on Monday, according to authorities.
The state attorney general’s office said that the attack was unexpected, and that it is currently pursuing two lines of investigation, but didn’t reveal what they are.
“We did not have any reports from authorities in that municipality of threats of any kind to public servants. We are reviewing our files for events that occurred there,” state prosecutor Gabriel Hernández said in a press conference streamed on Facebook.
Another attack in the neighboring state of Michoacán on the same day left a policeman and four civilians dead, the office of the state’s attorney general said on X, formerly known as Twitter. Both Michoacán and Guerrero have long been wracked by violence and conflict between authorities and drug gangs and cartels.
Guerrero’s mountains are littered with clandestine heroin poppy plots that make it one of the heartlands of Mexico’s heroin trade. In recent years, indigenous communities have created militia groups to look after their security, and to fill in for local police forces, who are considered corrupted, as well as federal and state security forces that are stretched thin. The militias have gone so far as to train boys, some as young as six, to serve as a last line of defense against cartels.
The attack on Monday came after police were responding to a report of shots fired, according to Mexican newspaper La Jornada. The hitmen then ambushed the police on the highway that connects Acapulco and Zihuatanejo, two popular beach tourist destinations in Guerrero. The incident took place in Coyuca de Benítez, about 22 miles from Acapulco.
La Jornada reported that seven of the officers were left lying on the side of the road with dozens of shell casings around them, while the bodies of the other six officers were located in different areas around Coyuca de Benítez.
Guerrero registered 1073 homicides through September of this year, according to government statistics, compared to 862 for the same period last year.
At least 341 police officers have been assassinated in Mexico since October 19, according to CNN, which cited a report by the nonprofit group Causa en Común. At least 403 officers were assassinated in 2002, according to the group.
While state authorities declined to provide a motive for the crime, the cartel La Familia Michoacana has made a play for power along Guerrero’s coast. In August, the cartel organized blockades and set fire to vehicles in Acapulco following the alleged arrest of the mother of one of the cartel bosses, Mexican news outlet Reforma reported.
Source : Vice