Hundreds Flee Gun Battles in Mexican State
Three days of raging gun battles this week between rival drug gangs in Michoacán state killed an unknown number of people, forced hundreds to flee their homes and raised fresh fears that another major Mexican state has become all but ungovernable.
Fighting broke out Monday and lasted for three days. But news of the conflict was slow to get out because local media in states like Michoacán have largely stopped covering the carnage on orders from drug gangs.
On Tuesday, a helicopter belonging to the Federal Police was forced to make a hard landing after being shot at by gunmen from a drug cartel, the Federal Investigative Agency, an arm of the Attorney General’s Office, said Tuesday. Three federal police were injured.
The police didn’t immediately have a number of casualties in the fighting between the gangs. But the lawlessness echoed the scene in Tamaulipas state, where mass graves have recently been found. In another western Mexican state, Nayarit, a gunbattle this week left 28 dead.
The situation is so bad that Mexico’s three main political parties on Wednesday signed a joint statement saying they were exploring the possibility of fielding a single, unity candidate in November’s gubernatorial race in an attempt to set aside partisan bickering and save the state.
“It’s indicative of how badly the wheels are falling off,” said James McDonald, an anthropology professor at Southern Utah University who lived for many years in Michoacán and is an expert on it. “I think Michoacán is lost, like Tamaulipas. And it could be the realization that they need to get together on this and deal with it, or else.”
There is more information in an AP article from two days ago:
Fierce fighting among apparent rival drug gangs in western Mexico bloodied one highway with 28 dead, while in a nearby state more than 700 people huddled in shelters after fleeing villages that had become battlegrounds.And I always hate to see quotations like this:
The violence, which appeared to be unrelated, escalated Wednesday in the western states of Nayarit and Michoacan, where drug cartels have been warring for territory.
“I am not scared, but my children are,” said a mother, who asked not to be quoted by name because of fear of retaliation.
A handout photograph made available by Quadratin shows several vehicles after been set on fire during fighting between Mexican armed groups in Tierra Caliente, Michoacán. Hundreds have fled their homes looking for a safer place.