Authorities say that the mass military deployment to the state of Michoacan in Mexico has successfully brought the region's vigilante groups under control, although the emergence of a new self-defense group in the region suggests otherwise.
Speaking at a press conference, Michoacan Governor Jesus Reyna Garcia said the region's self-defense groups have been "gradually fading away" as a result of the increased military presence in the state.
According to Reyna, the army is now the only armed actor patrolling the town of Coalcoman, where vigilantes had imposed a curfew after staging an armed assault on the mayor's office. Meanwhile in Buenavista and Tepalcatepec, where vigilantes violently confrontated the Knights Templar drug cartel, the groups have all but disappeared, Reyna said.
However, the governor acknowledged the presence of a new group in the municipality of Chinicuila. The group, which consists of approximately 50 armed men, emerged after a confrontation at the end of May that left two people dead and has maintained a constant presence ever since, according to Proceso.
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The self-defense groups in Michoacan have been among the most problematic for the Mexican authorities, clashing with both the Knights Templar and the security forces.
The governor's pronouncements about the end of the Michoacan self-defense groups seem somewhat premature. Even if the groups no longer have a visible presence due to the army patrols, this does not mean they will not later re-emerge.
As the vigilantes in Michoacan have been highly critical of the authorities, frequently accusing them of corruption and working with the Knights Templar, it also seems unlikely they will be content to cede control of security to the authorities in the long term, a fact underscored by the emergence of the Chinicuila group during the military deployment.