Elements of the State Police in Comitán de Domínguez, this May 29, 2023.Toño Aguilar (Cuartoscuro)
The war between criminal groups that grips the population in a strip of the border between Chiapas and Guatemala rages. In recent days, hundreds of residents have left their homes in ejidos in the municipality of Frontera Comalapa, north of Tapachula, due to clashes between the groups. The Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center has also denounced that criminals are forcing young people from the communities to join their ranks, under threat of death.
In videos taken by neighbors in different ejidos of the municipality, the effects of violence are seen. In one, for example, dozens of people appear walking in a hurry, in apparent flight, before the push of criminal groups. In another, there are trucks equipped with artisanal armor, commonly known as monsters, such as those seen these years in Michoacán or Tamaulipas, which criminals use in their raids.
Armored cars head to the Comalapa Border.Photo: RR. SS. | Video: RR FF.
The violence on the border adds to the conflicts that other areas of the state have been experiencing for years. In San Cristobal de las Casas, in the Los Altos region, shootouts are becoming more common, for example. In April, the murder of artisan leader Jerónimo Ruiz sparked a wave of clashes between armed groups, and burning of houses and cars in the city, one of the tourist jewels of the south of the country.
The conflict on the border has been going on for more than two years. Local media indicate that the groups in conflict are local franchises of the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG) and the Sinaloa Cartel. The battle has taken place against local leaders, whose only crime has been to try to denounce the situation and force the authorities, especially the Army, to intervene. Those who have dared to raise their voices have found the punishment of crime.
Detonations in communities
Violence has increased in recent days. Photo: cuartoscuro | Video: RR FF.
In September of last year, residents of Ejido Sinaloa, part of Frontera Comalapa denounced the disappearance of Commissioner Rolando Rodríguez, the highest authority of the community. The digital media Chiapas Paralelo denounced that criminals took Rodriguez, after he went to an Army barracks, in the neighboring town of Comitán, to denounce the constant confrontations of criminal groups. At that time, Ejido Sinaloa had been caught in the crossfire of the groups.
In April, criminals also took Roberto Gómez and his sons. Like Rodriguez, Gomez was one of the authorities of Ejido Sinaloa. According to local media, the attack occurred a few hundred meters from a military garrison operating in the area. During the last year and a half, similar cases have been registered in Ejido Sinaloa and other communities of Comalapa. Chiapas Paralelo explains that only this area has registered 59 complaints of forced disappearance in this period.
In recent days, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center indicates that from May 25 to 27, there were blockades, shootings and forced recruitment in the Nueva Independencia community, in Comalapa, in Maravillas, in Pacayalito, in the municipality of Nuevo Amatenango, a little further south, on the New Mexico detour, in Santa Rita. in Paso Hondo and Chamic.
"In the last four days, violence in the municipality increased alarmingly," the organization said in a statement. "Young people from diverse communities were forcibly recruited by crime. [Neighbors] report that at least 3,000 people were displaced from their communities. Some have sought temporary shelters and others have been sheltering in the mountains or a safe place for days. Likewise, they inform us that many families remain in their homes without being able to leave, they are locked up by the extreme terror they are living. It has come to this under the mechanics of complicity and abandonment of the Mexican Government," he adds.
Villagers flee violence
Residents flee the zone of violence in Frontera Comalapa.Photo: cuartoscuro | Video: RR FF.
Subscribe hereto the newsletter of EL PAÍS Mexico and receive all the informative keys of the news of this country