Killings of Police Officers on the Rise in Chiapas as Criminal Groups Battle for Control

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The state of Chiapas is witnessing an alarming surge in the assassination of law enforcement officers, positioning it as one of Mexico’s burgeoning centers of violence, primarily due to clashes among criminal factions. In a startling departure from previous years, the initial four months of 2024 have seen the demise of 9 officers, a figure that overshadows the total annual counts of the past.

On the 8th of April, in a particularly brazen incident, assailants fatally shot two state police officers on duty at a Telecomm Telégrafos outlet in Ocozocoautla, Chiapas. Reports from Diario de Chiapas suggest that the absence of theft points to a deliberate assassination rather than a burglary.

This incident brings the death toll of police officers in Chiapas to 9 for the year, exceeding any annual total recorded by the security-focused think tank Causa en Común. Consequently, Chiapas now ranks as the state with the second-highest number of police fatalities in 2024, trailing only behind Guanajuato, which has reported 20.

Chiapas is currently the battleground for a fierce territorial conflict involving the Sinaloa Cartel factions, the CJNG, and local gangs like the San Juan Chamula Cartel. The state is experiencing a resurgence of criminal activities that had long been absent, including highway shootouts involving armored vehicles, targeted killings of police and political figures, and the circulation of narco-related videos.

From 2022 to 2023, the homicide rate soared by 52%, from 377 to 500. However, some argue that the actual rise in fatalities could be substantially higher. A case in point is the claim by a local NGO that 25 civilians perished in a shootout involving the Guardia Nacional and armed criminals earlier this month, a figure that starkly contrasts with the government’s report of 10 fatalities.

The state’s precarious security situation is further exacerbated by discrepancies in death toll reporting. Journalists like Isain Mandujano, who has been covering the region for two decades, acknowledge the severe risks faced by the press, with certain areas being completely off-limits to reporters due to safety concerns.

In response to the escalating violence, the United States’ Department of State issued a travel advisory on April 10th for the Ocozocoautla region, advising against travel by U.S. government personnel and cautioning American citizens about the potential dangers.

 Source: Borderland Beat