Hid­den graves, sev­ered heads found amid vi­o­lence, man­hunt

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

Sol­diers and police fanned out Fri­day across the south­ern Mex­i­can state of Guer­rero, chas­ing a wounded gang leader and try­ing to quell a wave of vi­o­lence that in­cluded the dis­cov­ery of hid­den graves hold­ing dozens of bod­ies and a camp where gun­men stored the sev­ered heads of nine ri­vals in a cooler.

The clashes be­tween drug gangs were com­pli­cated by the fact that towns­peo­ple fed up with the vi­o­lence had formed “com­mu­nity police” vig­i­lante squads in many places. The squads of­ten pre­vent police and sol­diers from mov­ing freely and some­times act on be­half of the gangs.

The state has been riven, not just by the killings, but by the kid­nap­ping of about a dozen peo­ple in the town of Aju­chit­lan.

The Aju­chit­lan res­i­dents were ap­par­ently kid­napped last week by a fugi­tive gang leader known as “El Te­qui­lero,” who was be­lieved to be wounded and hid­ing out with his kid­nap vic­tims in the moun­tains.

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