Mexico President Says Guerrero State Authorities Make Own Decisions On Arming Self-Defense

MEXICO CITY (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 24th January, 2020) Local authorities in Mexico's southern state of Guerrero make their own decisions on arming local self defense units and have legalized the training of children for armed self-defense, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday at a press conference.

Earlier on Thursday, local media reported that the Indigenous Council of Mexcalcingo, a small community in the township of Alcozacan in the Guerrero state, approved the arming and training of boys and teenagers aged 8 to 15, while a local community policing group taught them to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from drug gangs.

"Guerrero is a state where [armed] self-defense is legalized, and they [local authorities] define who cannot be a real member of the local self-defense forces and use weapons," the president said.

He also stated that though National Guard forces were deployed to the region, the local government did not consider military measures to be the best way to counter mass criminality.

"The main [goal] is to understand reasons [for high criminal rates], avoid family breakdowns, strengthen values, material welfare, take care of youth so that everyone has the opportunity to study, guarantee the right to work, to a fair salary, and to prosperity. This is the main thing, and this is directly what we do, and we will not change," Obrador added.

Earlier in January, ten musicians from the Nahaus indigenous group were shot dead and burned following an attack by a local drug cartel. The incident followed a separate incident a year earlier in which 18 gang members and nearly two dozen local residents were killed during an attack on the neighbouring community of Chilapa, situated along Mexico's so-called "Corridor of Death" through which much of the heroin bound for the US passes.

Last week, local residents have been blocking the main highway in the state, demanding the immediate deployment of two units of the National Guard in the region, and the return of the remains of the dead musicians from the military hospitals and forensic centers.

The incident was linked to the Los Ardillos crime syndicate that has been been involved for more than two decades in drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping in the Guerrero state.

In August 2019, residents handed a letter containing a list of security demands to the president. However, the Federal government has not taken any measures so far.

The war on drugs, unprecedented in its intensity, began in Mexico in 2006 under then-President Felipe Calderon, who summoned army units for operations against drug mafia, reformed the Mexican federal police and announced a hunt for the most notorious leaders of the Mexican criminal world.