Armed children are shown parading in groups, and then they are seen crawling on the ground as a training. The video that emerged Wednesday from the community of Chilapa, Guerrero, has caused shock among Mexicans by portraying how teenagers and minors have taken up arms to try to defend their community from repeated attacks.
The most recent happened last week, when ten musicians were killed and then burned in the vehicle in which they were traveling. Guerrero authorities investigate the Las Ardillas crime group for the act.
But Chilpa has been a community under siege for several years and there is a record that children have been armed since May 2019.
The Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities-Founding Peoples (CRAC-PF), a local armed self-defense group, presented the video of minors training on Wednesday, after claiming that the National Guard and other government forces have not done enough to prevent and combat the violence that is lived in the area.
According to a CRAC leader, most of the children who paraded in the video are only receiving training in case of an attack, while nine of them, aged 15 and 16, are already ready to shoot if necessary.
"Those we are preparing is also to take care of their little brothers," said CRAC coordinator Bernardino Sánchez. But "if at this moment there is a confrontation with bullets with the criminals, the ones who would participate are us, not the children," he said.
Sanchez said they now expect President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to visit Chilapa to meet with widows and orphans. The CRAC assured that they sent a document with 29 demands to López Obrador so that violence in the region can be addressed.
The president said early Thursday at a press conference that the issue of self-defense "is being addressed" and that "we must see" if they have really recruited children.
Guerrero, to the southwest of Mexico, is not the only state in the country with a consolidated presence of self-defense groups, sometimes called community police.
Telemundo News also spoke with three men who were part of a self-defense in Michoacán, who sent a message to López Obrador: if the government forces do not address the violence, they will return to take up arms:
Ten indigenous musicians killed in Guerrero
In Mexico, gangs and self-defenses feed increasing violence