Mexican Troops to Intervene in Deadly Urban War

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Federal troops will take over security in a large area of a western Mexican state after days of gun fights between masked vigilantes and members of one of the country’s most powerful drug cartels.

Mexican Troops to Intervene in Deadly Urban War

Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said federal forces with support from state police will patrol an area in Michoacan State, known as Tierra Caliente, the home base of the Knights Templar drug cartel.

“Be certain we will contain the violence in Michoacan,” Osorio Chong said, urging the vigilante groups to withdraw from the area so federal forces could take control.

Since late last year, vigilante groups in the state have moved deeper into territory controlled by the Knights Templar cartel and they now are converging on Apatzingan, considered one of gang’s main strongholds.

The vigilantes’ advance has raised the risk of a bloody urban battle in the city, AFP reported.

The federal attorney general’s office said in a statement it had sent 11 helicopters and 70 federal investigators and officers to help return law and order to the state. Some federal police and troops have been sent to the region in recent months because of the unrest, but have generally not intervened.

Congressman Ernesto Nunez of the Green Party, who was at the meeting, said the federal government is looking to have members of the self-defence groups join police departments. “Those who they see really have the (police) vocation, those who really love their communities, will be invited to join the police,” Nunez said.

No clashes were reported in the Tierra Caliente region Monday, but almost every store was closed in Apatzingana. There were few people on the street and little police presence. Shopkeepers said they were afraid to open after gunmen believed to be working for the drugs cartel threw firebombs at several of the city’s businesses and city hall over the weekend.

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