The municipality of Chilapa is a microcosm of what is happening in the state of Guerrero. You have read of the battles between different gangs all over the state. In another city you read about the murder of a mayor. In another there are many reports of corruption and collusion of public officials with the cartels or gangs. In other areas you will find horror stories of beheadings, kidnappings, mass graves and just about any kind of violence you can think of. But there are few cities that have experienced it all as has the municipality of Chilapa, about 55 kilometers from the state capitol.
Borderland Beat has posted 8 stories on the happenings in Chilapa just since July 2014.
July 22, 2014
A video was posted on Youtube of a man who was kidnapped, while being detained by men armed with AK-47s,accuses the mayor of Chilapa de Alvarez, Francisco Havier Garcia Gonzalez (at left), of having ties to the leader of “Los Rojos” Zenen Nava Sanchez “ El Chaparro”.
Nov. 15, 2014 . Fr. John Ssenyondo was reported missing by the Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa.
The Catholic priest who disappeared in April, was found in a Guerrero fosa (clandestine grave), and buried with six other bodies. The discovery was made a week ago in the search for the 43 missing normalistas students.
**Five more burnt bodies found in Guerrero
Dec 01, 2014
Five burnt bodies were found over the weekend in Chilapa de Alvarez, a town in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, police chief Job Encarnacion Cuenca said.
Jan 10, 2015
According to information from representatives of the Office of the Attorney-General, the graves were located in the village of Tepehuixco of Chilapa de Alvarez. The area is being guarded by federal troops ...
Mar 12, 2015
Armed men intercepted Aidé Nava González vehicle on the road to Chilapa, she was shot and decapitated. The PRD mayoral front-runner candidate of Ahuacuot-Zingo, municipality, Aidé Nava González, was kidnapped this ...With her decapitated body was a message from “Los Rojos” cartel that covered her body, but her head was lying next to a rock on top of the banner.
**Police killed in battle with criminals in Chilapa"This will happen to all the fucking politicians who don’t want to align with us, you fucking traitors.Attn,Puro Rojos ZNS ."
Apr 22, 2015
Presumed integrants of organised crime killed a member of the Special Forces of the State Police and injured another, in the Community of Atzacoaloya, belonging to the Town of Chilapa de Alvarez, Guerrero. The Municipal ...
**Alleged Community Guards Lay Siege to Chilapa
May 10, 2015
Yesterday around 17:30 hours, approximately 300 masked civilians armed with shotguns stormed and took control of the entrances and exits of the municipal capital of Chilapa where the Federal Police Gendarmerie and the state police had supposedly taken over security for the town.
As reported by Lucio in that story,;
The “Community Guards” stripped the weapons off of the 40 municipal police and made rounds throughout the municipality in official police vehicles while bearing official weapons, the AR-15 and AR-70 rifles.
This Sunday, Proceso toured throughout the conflict zone and could see the failure of the authorities such as the military, federal, and state, who have merely observed the raids, the disarming of the municipal police, the civilian retention, and the checkpoints that the “Community Guard” have on the boulevard Eucaria Apreza, located along the federal road Chilapa-Tlapa.
The perception of the residents of this city faced with the omissive attitude of the authorities is that with this way, the federal and state governments intend to oust the cell of “Los Rojos” and leave “Los Ardillos” with control of the plaza. “Removing one evil with another evil,” responded a youth, having been asked by the reporter.
**Chilapa Residents Denounce Armed ...
May 21, 2015
Residents of Chilapa, Guerrero denounced the disappearances of at least 30 people during the arrival of the hundreds of armed civilians who called themselves “Community Police”. Chilapa has been hit by several violent incidents attributed to organized crime in recent months, among them includes the finding of 10 human heads and other human remains in clandestine graves in January.
On May 1, Ulises Fabián Quiroz, the PRI mayor candidate, was shot to death.
WARNING: THERE ARE GRAPHIC IMAGES OF VIOLENCE ON THE NEXT PAGE!!!
YOU MAY WANT TO SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE TO THE STORY "In Chilapa Having The Wrong Last Name is Almost a Death Warrant"
There have been other incidents that we have not always reported simply because there are too many stories to post them all.
On Sept. 2, 2014 police received an anonymous call about a body on the Chilapa to Atzacualoya road. On investigation they found a decapitated head and a blanket.
On Nov. 27, 2014, Sin Embargo reported on 11 bodies found decapitated and burned on the road from Chilapa leading to the town of Ayahualulco.
After the takeover of the town by the 300 self proclaimed community police, according to the testimony of one of the inhabitants, 40 days ago on the way Tlachimaltepec six peasant farmers were killed who were only on their way to sell their produce. He also said that in the community of Corner Chautla there have been cases of rape to women who are left alone because their husbands migrate to work in the northern states of the country. He also explained that the region was fraught with cattle rustling.
"People no longer want to report acts of violence because if the prosecutor catches criminals, they are turned loose and then the criminals go against those who complained." If you fall asleep at night, the offender is stealing your cattle, if you can recognize the villain and complain to MP (Ministerio Publico) before you get home the criminal is waiting for you".
On June 3, 2015, 4 days before the midterm elections on June 7, the federal government sent a military convoy Chilapa. It appeared as if they were preparing for a confrontation with a invading army with more than 20 units of armored military containment (tanks), in a show never before seen in the area, since the Dirty War in the 1970s of last century,
The people's reaction varied from surprised to fearful, but many could not help but comment on what worries the government was the elections and that the commands to the army was to take care of the ballot boxes and no command to provide any security for the people. (reported by Informador. Mx)
Many places in Mexico are safe (I live here) and the people don't live in fear. But Chipala is not one of them. The following story from Yahoo News shows that some residents of the Chipala area have even more reason to be fearful - having the wrong last name.
In Chilapa Having The Wrong Last Name is Almost a Death Warrant
By Leticia Pineda
Chilapa de Alvarez (Mexico) (AFP) - In the violent southern Mexico town of Chilapa, just being named Sanchez, Nava or Carreto can lead to trouble.
Several men with those last names were among 10 to 14 people who vanished from the Guerrero state city when a 300-strong armed group occupied Chilapa for five days in May.
Relatives of the missing fear they were kidnapped because they share the same names as a notorious drug lord and a former police chief in a region where crime and politics often intersect.
The armed group, which described itself as one of the "community police" forces that are common in Guerrero, entered Chilapa on May 9, disarmed the municipal police and blocked the town's entrances.
They left on May 14 after an agreement with federal authorities.
Residents say the armed group was infiltrated by Los Ardillos, a local drug gang which is fighting for Chilapa against a rival criminal group known as Los Rojos.
The armed group has rejected kidnapping and criminal links accusations.
During the occupation, at least 14 men, most between the ages of 15 and 25, vanished without a trace, according to a list their relatives provided to AFP.
Authorities say they are investigating the alleged kidnapping of 10 people in the town of 120,000 people, which lies on a strategic route for heroin traffickers who grow opium poppies in the surrounding mountains.
- Selling cattle and pizza -
Witnesses say that the armed group went around town with rifles and machetes, shouting "Give up 'El Chaparro!' and we'll go away!"
"El Chapparo" is the nickname of reputed Los Rojos leader Zenen Sanchez Nava.
One man had just left his job at a pizzeria when he disappeared, others had come to Chilapa to sell cattle.
Alexandro Nava Reyes, a 21-year-old truck driver, told his parents on May 10 that he was going to visit his girlfriend "but he never came back," his sister Melissa said.
Four other young men whose parents have either Sanchez or Nava in their last names disappeared.
"Being Nava or Sanchez is extremely dangerous in Chilapa," said Jose Diaz, a teacher and spokesman for relatives of the missing.
Jose Apolonio Villanueva, a farmer and leader of the armed group, said the goal of their "visit" to Chilapa was to speak with the mayor because "many people have been lost in our communities" as well.
While they never saw the mayor, Apolonio's group was able to negotiate the resignation of the town's police chief.
Another former Chilapa police chief, Silvestre Carreto González, stepped down in July last year.
The missing include three brothers, Miguel, 23, Juan, 20 and Victor, 15, whose last names are Carreto Cuevas and were last seen when they came to Chilapa to sell a cow.
Two other relatives, Crispino Carreto Gonzalez and his son Samuel, also disappeared between May 9 and 14.
Residents believe the disappearances of the Carretos was some sort of vengeance against the former police chief in a region where authorities are often accused of colluding with criminals.
A week after the armed group left Chilapa, three bodies were found near the town with their facial skin peeled off. But authorities say the victims were men who had disappeared before the May 9-14 occupation.
Drugs and politics -
Esther, another sister of Alexandro Nava, said the latest unrest in Chilapa began before June 7 midterm elections.
"It all started because of the elections," she said, recalling how masked men tried to place next to her house a banner demanding that people support a political party.
A day before the legislative, municipal and gubernatorial vote, relatives of the missing held a protest against what they termed "narco-elections."
Jesus Parra Garcia of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won the mayoral race. He replaced another PRI candidate who was shot dead on May 1.
"It doesn't matter who wins. If they don't arrest Los Ardillos and Los Rojos, the situation will stay the same," said Diaz, the spokesman for the relatives.
"The election only decides if the mayor is Rojo or Ardillo," added Diaz, who said two of his brothers were killed by Los Ardillos last year.
Chilapa is near Ayotzinapa, the location of a teacher training college still reeling from the September disappearance of 43 students who, according to authorities, were attacked by police in the city of Iguala under the mayor's orders.
Officials say Iguala's officers handed the students to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which has been battling Los Rojos and is accused of killing the 43 young men