HomeNewsBriefAttacks on Electrical Plants: A Sign of Mexico 'Narco-Insurgency'?
BRIEF

Attacks on Electrical Plants: A Sign of Mexico 'Narco-Insurgency'?

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 28 OCT 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A series of coordinated attacks on electrical plants and gas stations in Michoacan, Mexico has taken the state's conflict between drug cartels and vigilantes to the next level, and once again raised the specter of a "narco-insurgency."

Homemade bombs were launched and shots fired at 18 electrical plants and six gas stations in various towns across Michoacan state on October 27, causing over 420,000 residents to lose electricity, reported Animal Politico. Selene Vazquez, president of the Michoacan Congress Justice Commission, blamed criminal group the Knights Templar for the attack.

On the same day, a shootout in the town of Apatzingan resulted in the deaths of six people, with conflicting reports about who the victims were. While Milenio reported five of them were believed to be drug traffickers and one a member of a vigilante group, according to Sin Embargo, reports suggested all the dead were vigilantes.

The attacks and shootout occurred a day after hundreds of vigilantes from towns in the violence-riddled "Tierra Caliente" region of Michoacan entered Apatzingan to try to expel the Knights Templar from the area, reported EFE.

SEE ALSO: Knights Templar Profile

According to El Universal, the vigilantes intended to force out the municipal police. An armed confrontation ensued in which at least two members people were injured, before security forces intervened to prevent an all-out battle, according to Milenio.

Following the infrastructure attacks, hundreds of Apatzingan residents protested the incursion of the self-defense force -- a protest they denied had been incited by the Knights Templar.

InSight Crime Analysis

While drug trafficking organizations have in the past attacked the infrastructure of multinational companies in Mexico, targeting state-provided services is something new. Given the Knights Templar claim to defend the interests of local communities, the idea of them carrying out an action that so negatively affects those communities seems counter-intuitive -- unless it was a revenge attack against the self-defense groups and people perceived to support them.

It has been suggested that Mexico is experiencing a so-called narco-insurgency, in which criminal groups seek to attack the state in order to gain total autonomy and control over their territory. The Knights Templar in particular position themselves as a popular social movement, and if it is true they were behind the attacks, then the use such tactics echoes methods used by insurgencies like Colombia's leftist guerrillas.

However other than attacks against security forces, Mexico's criminal groups do not typically target the state and do not offer a coherent alternative to traditional government, and so while they may employ tactics similar to those used by rebel groups, they fail to meet the most basic criteria of an insurgency -- wanting to overthrow the state.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

AYOTZINAPA / 6 OCT 2022

Mexico's army is being given more public security responsibilities, despite its human rights abuses.

ELITES AND CRIME / 12 MAY 2021

Time appears to be running out for the governor of the US-Mexico border state of Tamaulipas – after lawmakers stripped…

JALISCO CARTEL / 9 JUL 2021

A series of photos taken in a Mexican town, that has been the focal point of major criminal engagements this…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…