A Mexican politician has accused local vigilantes of murdering his brother, as tensions in Michoacan between local authorities, self-defense groups and rival drug cartels explode into violence.
According to police, Jesus Torres Chavez was shot dead shortly after having been stopped at a military checkpoint on the road between Buenavista Tomatlan and Apatzingan.
His brother, Buenavista Tomatlan Municipal President, Luis Torres, blamed his death on local self-defense groups, saying it was in retaliation for his refusal to arm them with weapons from municipal police, reported Excelsior.
Quadratin reported that the Luis Torres had previously been threatened by local vigilantes, who briefly kidnapped two of his sons and have claimed that the mayor has ties to organized crime.
InSight Crime Analysis
Tensions in Michoacan have been building for some time. In March, self-defense members took numerous police and military hostage and accused local authorities of collaborating with the Knights Templar -- the dominant criminal force in the region. Shortly after, over thirty vigilantes were arrested and accused of working for the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation -- the Knights' regional rivals.
At the end of April, clashes between community police and alleged members of the Knights Templar left 14 dead in Buenavista Tomatlan and nearby Tepalcatepec. In the aftermath, the Knights Templar blamed the self-defense groups for the violence.
At a time when self-defense groups are on the rise in conflict zones around Mexico, the Michoacan confrontation provides the clearest example yet of the dangers inherent in this trend.