By Chris Covert
A total of 62 Policia Federal (PF) agents have been kidnapped in Uruapan municipality in Michaocan state, according to a several Mexican news accounts.
Twelve PF agents apparently happened upon a roadblock maintained by local indigenous Angahuan and Carapan Indians when they were taken prisoner Indigenous Indians are protesting illegal logging in the Meseta Purepecha area, according to a report posted on the website of El Sol de Zacatecas news daily.
According to a late article posted on thw website of El Sol de Mexico news daily, a total of 50 additional PF agents were kidnapped. The article failed to elaborate when and where the additional police were kidnapped.
The roads between Uruapan and Paracho, and Los Reyes and Zamora are being blocked as well as roads near Angahuan Capacuaro, Santa Cruz Tanaco and Tlazazalca. Those stretches of roads are less than seven kilometers from Cheran municipality, where continual protests against activity residents have claimed as illegal logging has taken place the past two years.
Wednesday a Michoacan government news release said that at least three mixed operating bases would be established in the areas around Cheran, Paracho and Santa Cruz Tanaco. BOM or Base de Operaciones Mixtas, is a mixture of federal and state security forces. The mixing of security forces from all levels of gvoernment is a practice in routine use in Nuevo Leon state to counter drug gangs operating in the area, and to provide patrols.
According to the El Sol de Mexico article the kidnappings are a response to the Michoacan state government plan to beef up security forces in the area. PF have also been asked to leave the area by indigent Indians.
The news release, which names Michoacan governor Fausto Vallejo Figueroa said a number of repeated meetings would take place to assess the security situation in the area.
The uptick in activity takes place in the wake of the murder of two Cheran residents two weeks ago near Cheran. The victims, Urbano Macias Rafael, 48, and Guadalupe Geronimo Velazquez, 28 were kidnapped as they attempted to bring in cattle from the fields. A protest by Cheran residents not only locked local officials in the town hall, but also took place in the capital of Morelia at the legislative palace.
The two men were later found dead.
Issues for local indigenous Indians in Michoacan boil down to illegal use of lands they consider tribal and sacred. Residents of Cheran have been protesting illegal logging and organized crime activity in the area for years.
Even so, indigenous Indians such as the residents of Cheran have allegedly themselves been involved in a number of illegal acts such as auto theft carjacking, illegal roadblocks and imposition of illegal duties, as well a number of other petty crimes.
Michoacan is one of the six most heavily reinforced states in Mexico with at least 8,000 Mexican army troops deployed to the area. Those troops along with elements of Mexican Naval Infantry troops and Policia Federal troops were ordered into the state to provide additional security for the November 2011 elections. Those troops have only been reinforced since then.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com