Gregorio Pérez Gómez was investigating the violence in the municipality of Pantelhó, where in July a new group of self-defense groups took over the municipal seat to “expel the organized criminal”
The Indigenous Justice prosecutor Gregorio Pérez Gómez has been killed by six bullets this Tuesday, as reported by the Chiapas Prosecutor’s Office in a statement. The prosecutor was investigating the violence in the municipality of Pantelhó, where in July a new group of self-defense groups, El machete, took over the municipal seat to “expel organized crime” from the area. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said in the morning conference that the homicide “seems” to be linked “to that of Pantelhó.”
Pérez Gómez was found dead in a gray vehicle this Tuesday around nine at night in San Cristóbal de las Casas (Chiapas), near his office. According to local media, the prosecutor was intercepted by a motorcyclist, received six shots, and died at the scene. For three years, he had been the head of the Indigenous Prosecutor’s Office and was currently in charge of the investigations of “the violent events that took place in the municipality of Pantelhó,” according to the Prosecutor’s Office in a statement.
In early July, several armed men stormed the municipal seat of Pantelhó after clashing with members of Los Herrera, a group allegedly linked to municipal authorities, according to local media. After taking over the facilities, they expelled the mayor, Raquel Trujillo Morales (PRD), and other local authorities. Three days later, a self-defense group claimed responsibility for the violent irruption. They called themselves El machete and said in a statement that their objective was to “expel the hitmen, drug traffickers, and organized crime” from the area.
The murdered prosecutor was investigating the clashes that took place that day, in which police and national guards were also injured. The State Prosecutor’s Office has assured that it will investigate the crime “to the last consequences”. Hours later, while the investigations continue, the president has said from the National Palace that “it seems” that the homicide “is linked to that of Pantelhó.”
The group of armed civilians emerged in reaction to violence in the region, which has forced thousands of people to displace their communities. “We do not want more deaths for the poor Tzeltal and Tsotsil peasants,” said the new self-defense in a statement. This Monday, hundreds of representatives of the communities of Pantelhó elected their new interim municipal authorities, according to their uses and customs, and decided that El machete will remain in that area. As reported, the group is backed by the 83 communities of the municipal seat.
In the last six years, organized crime groups have invaded the territories of Los Altos, in Chiapas
. The lands inhabited by indigenous communities began to be victims of looting, extortion, threats, and deaths. Civil associations report murders of indigenous people every week at the hands of organized crime.