32 bod­ies, 9 hu­man heads found in Mex­ico

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


Author­i­ties have ex­humed 32 bod­ies and nine heads from sev­eral clan­des­tine graves this week in a south­ern Mex­i­can state plagued by kid­nap­pings and mur­ders, of­fi­cials said Thurs­day. The re­mains were un­earthed be­tween Tues­day and Thurs­day in 17 pits on a hill in the vil­lage of Pochahuixco, part of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Zit­lala, a re­gion be­set by turf wars be­tween drug car­tels. “The dis­cov­er­ies are ter­ri­ble,” Guer­rero state se­cu­rity spokesman Roberto Alvarez said, adding that the vic­tims in­clude 31 men and one woman.

The re­mains were taken to the state cap­i­tal, Chilpancingo, to be iden­ti­fied, Alvarez said in a state­ment. No arrests have been made in the case. The bod­ies were found in 17 of 20 pits that were dug up by in­ves­ti­ga­tors. Seven were found on Tues­day, five on Wed­nes­day and the rest on Thurs­day in var­i­ous states of de­com­po­si­tion. No other re­mains were found but sol­diers are scour­ing the re­gion for any other hid­den graves. No arrests were made. Drug car­tels have been bury­ing their vic­tims in hid­den graves across the coun­try for years, and author­i­ties reg­u­larly find hu­man re­mains. At the border be­tween the west­ern states of Jalisco and Mi­choa­can, for in­stance, 75 bod­ies were un­earthed from 37 clan­des­tine graves be­tween late 2013 and early 2014. Guer­rero has been plagued by a se­ries of mass kid­nap­pings, in­clud­ing 12 peo­ple ab­ducted in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Aju­chit­lan del Pro­greso last week.

Heads in a Cooler

The clan­des­tine graves were found af­ter author­i­ties re­ceived an anonymous tip about a camp where peo­ple were be­ing held, Alvarez told AFP. When they ar­rived at the site on a hill, they found a kid­nap vic­tim as well as two cars, a mo­tor­cy­cle and bul­let­proof vests. Sol­diers and po­lice also found four heads in­side a cooler that could be linked to nine bod­ies that were found on a road­side in the town of Tixtla a few days ago, he said. The Ardil­los and Los Ro­jos drug gangs are fight­ing over ter­ri­tory in the Zit­lala re­gion, the se­cu­rity spokesman said. “There are a lot of mur­ders, a lot of ab­duc­tions,” he said. Guer­rero is one of the coun­try’s most vi­o­lent states and a major opium poppy grower. Last week­end at least 24 peo­ple were killed in the state.

43 Stu­dents

Los Ro­jos have also been bat­tling the Guer­reros Unidos drug car­tel. In the Pa­cific re­sort of Aca­pulco, the Bel­tran Leyva gang and the In­de­pen­dent Car­tel of Aca­pulco bat­tle for supremacy. Guer­rero is also known for the dis­ap­pear­ance of 43 stu­dents in the city of Iguala in Sept 2014, a case that drew in­ter­na­tional out­rage and re­mains un­solved. The Iguala case put a spot­light on the rash of dis­ap­pear­ances in Mex­ico, where some 28,000 peo­ple have been re­ported miss­ing since 2007 in ad­di­tion to tens of thou­sands killed in con­nec­tion with drug vi­o­lence. Frus­trated by the lack of progress by the author­i­ties, mothers, fa­thers, broth­ers and sis­ters of the dis­ap­peared have led their own searches across the coun­try, learn­ing to de­tect clan­des­tine graves on their own. They look for un­turned earth and pierce the ground with sticks, smelling the end of it for the stench of rotting flesh. —AFP

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