Teachers held by armed civilians in Pantelhó, Chiapas, have been rescued.

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Survivors of the Acteal Massacre urged for a resolution to the conflict, while the rescued teachers indicated that classes would be suspended until safety is guaranteed.

The teachers held by armed civilians in the municipality of Pantelhó, Chiapas, were escorted out of the conflict zone by 70 trucks from federal and state forces, according to official sources.

Around 4:00 PM, an inter-institutional operation composed of the Mexican Army, the National Guard, the State Police, and personnel from the State Attorney General’s Office intervened in one of the three blockades located on the San Cristóbal de Las Casas – San Juan Cancuc highway.

Residents reported that violence in the Chiapas Highlands area intensified on Tuesday morning when hooded and armed men blocked the communication route with trees to prevent the entry and exit of inhabitants.

That same afternoon, a shootout occurred between the two self-defense groups disputing the territory, leaving residents and teachers caught in the crossfire for about half an hour.

The teachers, who work in about ten educational centers in Pantelhó, remained sheltered in homes for more than 72 hours to avoid being hit by stray bullets.

Threats due to confrontations in Chiapas

The Civil Society Organization “Las Abejas de Acteal” issued a statement expressing the concern of its members in Pantelhó, who feel threatened by the recent confrontations and are unable to carry out their usual activities.

“The world knows that our mission is to defend human rights, life, and peace. Therefore, in these days of violence and darkness, we are in days of fasting and prayer for peace in Pantelhó and in Chiapas,” the document specifies.

They affirmed that they will not participate in meetings or any act that implies associating with the armed groups in conflict, opting to stay in their homes with the flag of peace visible.

Survivors of the Acteal Massacre urged authorities at all three levels of government to resolve the conflict as soon as possible, as it has intensified over the last four years.

“Serious violations of the rights of the peoples will continue, and the impacts on the life and health of our communities and families will continue; as has happened for four years since the violence increased in the municipalities of Simojovel, Pantelhó, and Chenalhó, claiming as the first victim of our organization our brother human rights defender Simón Pedro Pérez López,” they emphasized.

According to testimonies from the rescued teachers, classes in Pantelhó will remain suspended until the authorities control the situation and peace and tranquility in the area are guaranteed.

Source: Milenio