Vigilante targets thieves, kidnappers, sex offenders and extortionists
URAPAN — Vigilante justice surfaces in the streets of Mexico’s Michoacan state as the bodies of seven men, all shot in the head as if executed, were found dumped in plastic chairs placed along the side of a street.
Michoacan’s attorney general’s office said in an official statement Saturday that the victims had all been shot in the head and placed individually in the sitting position in chairs near a traffic circle in the city of Uruapan. A placard nailed to one of the bodies with an ice pick reads: “Warning! This will happen to thieves, kidnappers, sex offenders and extortionists.”
It comes after seven people were killed in neighboring Guerrero state when armed men opened fire in a bar in Ciudad Altamirano on Friday evening, leaving four civilians and three off-duty federal agents among the dead, reports Aljazeera.
Mexico’s officials attribute the violence to drug-cartel activity. Perhaps the signs stabbed into the victims’ corpses lend a clue, as the murderer seems to have wanted to send a message to everyone but the drug traffickers.
Drug violence escalated after former president Felipe Calderon launched a nationwide crackdown against narco-traffickers.
An estimated 70,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico in the past seven years.
The Mexican government estimates that at least another 26,000 have “disappeared” in that same period.
President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in December, has vowed to quell the lawlessness and killing that have stained Mexico’s image as a tourist destination and rattled investors.
Thousands of soldiers were sent to patrol the streets, but the number of fatalities continued to rise.
Human rights groups accuse government forces of being behind hundreds of cases of missing people.