A total of 2,321 suspected criminals have died in clashes with army and air force personnel over the past five years, the Mexican Defense Secretariat said.
Since President Felipe Calderon took office on Dec. 1, 2006, 356 people have been wounded and 41,023 others have been arrested in operations targeting drug cartels and other criminal organizations, the secretariat said.
The figures, however, do not cover operations staged by the marine corps, which is part of the Navy Secretariat, and do not include army and air force casualties.
Army and air force units were attacked 1,971 times in the past five years, the secretariat said.
Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels shortly after taking office and deployed about 45,000 soldiers and 20,000 Federal Police officers to areas plagued by drug-related violence.
The army and air force “follow the law” in all their operations, respecting human rights, the secretariat said.
“In those cases where some effect on individual guarantees has been detected,” the armed forces have “cooperated with the agencies in charge of clearing up the incidents,” the secretariat said.
Citizens have filed 5,962 complaints with the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office, against the armed forces during the Calderon administration.
Only 92 of the complaints, or 1.54 percent of the total, resulted in CNDH recommendations of action against the army, the secretariat said, adding that 86.29 percent of the complaints ended up as closed cases.
More than 50,000 people have died in Mexico since Calderon launched his war on the cartels, with many of the victims dying in attacks staged by gang enforcers.