photo: Novedades Chilpancingo
A teacher and two men were ambushed and killed in the mountains of Guerrero, a state in southern Mexico, amid a walkout by teachers who say they have been targeted in extortion rackets run by criminal organizations, the Public Safety Secretariat said.
Officials received reports of the ambush Sunday of National Education Promotion Council, or Conafe, personnel on a rural road outside the city of Heliodoro Castillo, the secretariat said.
Catalina Santos Vazquez, a 20-year-old Conafe teacher assigned to the Juan R.Escudero school in Heliodoro Castillo, was killed in the attack.
Bertin Marquez Brito and Jose Sandoval Marquez, who were traveling with the teacher in a pick-up truck, were gunned down along with her in the community of El Naranjito.
Santos was a teacher and her killing was “an incident of chance,” Guerrero Public Safety Secretary Ramon Almonte Borja said.
Thousands of teachers have asked Guerrero’s government in the past few weeks to provide them with security when they are assigned to work in distant communities.
Hundreds of students in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco have not been able to return to their classrooms because teachers are demanding security around schools.
Heliodoro Castillo is one of the cities in Guerrero used by drug traffickers to grow illegal crops, such as opium poppies.
Ambushes staged by rival groups have left a number of people dead in the area this year.
Guerrero state, whose mountains are a prime growing area for illegal crops, has been the scene in recent years of a war between rival drug cartels that left 370 people dead last year in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco alone.
The state, which suffers from a high level of poverty, has also been affected by other types of conflicts, and guerrilla groups have sprouted up there.