Friday, July 16, 2010
Gunbattles and "Narco" blockades reported in Nuevo Laredo
A press release issued by SEGOB, Mexico’s Interior Ministry, Friday night confirmed at least 3 armed encounters between Mexican Army soldiers and gunmen belonging to an organized criminal group in various locations in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.
Nuevo Laredo, a city of approximately half a million inhabitants, is located across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas. The city is reputed to be a stronghold of the Los Zetas criminal group and home to one of its top leaders, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales (Z-40).
According to SEGOB, 12 people lost their lives in the clashes that began during the late morning hours. Nine of the dead were criminal gunmen, one was a soldier and two were innocent civilians.
SEGOB also reported 21 civilians wounded. Seven of the wounded, including 3 children, were in serious condition and the other 14 wounded were listed in stable condition. The report did not indicate if any of the wounded belonged to the criminal group.
Unofficial reports stated that that up to 8 gunmen had been apprehended.
In the press release the Federal Government expresses its sincere condolences to the families of both civilians and the soldier killed in the clashes and stated it would commit all available resources to care for the civilian wounded.
Link to SEGOB press release:
One of the shootouts occurred in the Infonavt Fundadores neighborhood in front of the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas campus where at least 5 gunmen were killed according to unofficial reports.
There was one other gunfight close to the municipal airport. The location of the third encounter was not disclosed.
During and immediately after the armed encounters gunmen set up roadblocks within the city and seized cars, buses and tractor trailers from the population to block streets and hinder the movement of authorities. There were various blockages on Avenida César López de Lara fro the south into the center of the city and also in the western area of the city on Avenida Revolucion, Eva Samano and the highway going to Anahuac, Nuevo Leon.
There was panic in the streets of the city as people tried to escape the shooting, carjackings and violence. As a result, many vehicle accidents also occurred which hindered movement even more.
As of Friday evening the streets of Nuevo Laredo were largely empty with little vehicular traffic. The International bridges were open but with little more than commercial traffic going into Laredo, Texas.
According to residents of the city sporadic gunfire was still being heard into the late afternoon in the Solidarity, Hidalgo, Las Torres, Los Fresnos, Paseo Colón, Lomas Sur neighborhoods and along the Airport Boulevard.
During the fighting the U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo issued a statement alerting U.S. citizens to avoid crossing into Nuevo Laredo. The Consulate warning stated grenades were being used and that the violence was widespread.
Link to the U.S. Consulate bulletin:
This instability could not have come at a worse time for the residents of Nuevo Laredo as they are still recovering from some of the worst flooding in it’s history that resulted from the torrential rains caused by Hurricane Alex.
There were rumors on the streets this evening, most likely false, that Treviño Morales el Z-40 had been killed or apprehended by Army troops.