HomeNewsBriefFalling Death Toll in Mexico Military Operations Reflects New Tactics
BRIEF

Falling Death Toll in Mexico Military Operations Reflects New Tactics

MEXICO / 11 JUN 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Both attacks against Mexico's soldiers and the number of alleged criminals killed by military personnel have plummeted over the last 18 months, reflecting tactical shifts in how the country's drug war is fought. 

According to government documents obtained by Milenio, the Mexican military killed 242 alleged criminals between January 2013 and March 30, 2014. In comparison, a total of 3,274 suspected criminals were killed by military personnel between 2009 and 2012 -- an average of over 800 a year -- with the number peaking at 1,297 in 2011.  

The Mexican army has also faced fewer attacks from criminal organizations and has decreased the number of combat operations in the country.

Although these figures include casualties from military deployments in the state of Michoacan, they do not include the current military operation in Tamaulipas, which began after the period measured.  

InSight Crime Analysis

The figures obtained by Milenio appear to provide empirical evidence of the shift in security policy promoted by President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration, which has called for a moderation of deadly force and recently published the first manual on the use of force in the military.

Like his predecessor, however, Peña Nieto has used federal troops to bolster security operations in violence-stricken regions of the country, including the states of Michoacan and Tamaulipas. The Mexican government deployed federal troops in November 2013 to take control of the port of Lazaro Cardenas, a Knights Templar stronghold in Michoacan, and a recent increase in violence in Tamaulipas has led to similar operations in the state

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

While the decrease in attacks on military personnel may be a result of this shift in tactics, it could also reflect a decline in the type of paramilitary tactics employed by cartels like the Zetas, who have been known to provoke firefights with security forces and target the state in their attacks. Indeed, according to Milenio, the majority of the alleged criminals who have been killed in confrontations with the military over the last seven years have died in areas controlled by the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, two groups that appear to have lost a significant amount of power.   

Once the deployment of federal troops in Tamaulipas ends, figures from this operation may paint a different picture for 2014. Over the last five years, 1,795 armed civilians -- nearly 40 percent of the registered total -- have been killed in Tamaulipas, which also continues to be the most dangerous state for federal troops.    

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

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 23 AUG 2016

Mexico's foreign minister has blamed lax US gun control laws for the flood of illegal weapons into the country, in…

MEXICO / 31 AUG 2012

A Mexican congressman recently asserted that under president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, the military will remain on Mexico's streets until at…

MEXICO / 11 DEC 2012

British bank HSBC will pay a record $1.9 billion to settle allegations it aided money laundering after reaching an agreement…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.