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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sources: Zetas responsible for two grenade attacks in Reynosa

The Monitor

Two separate grenade attacks and a brief firefight Saturday afternoon rocked the city of Reynosa.

The violence left one dead, 10 injured and three others with nervous breakdowns. Sources claim the Zetas have returned to Reynosa.

A Mexican law enforcement official confirmed that the first attack occurred along Calle Benito Juarez when a grenade was thrown by a group of unknown individuals. Nine civilians were injured, according to the law enforcement official.

Approximately two hours later, a second grenade was thrown along Boulevard Hidalgo near the Broncos Bridge. No injuries were reported, but three civilians reported suffering a nervous breakdown.

At approximately 3 p.m. a group of gunmen clashed along Calle Margarita Maza de Juarez. One person was killed and another was injured, the official said.

The attacks on Saturday are the latest in a series of recent attacks in Reynosa.

On Thursday, 10 maquila workers were injured when a grenade was thrown at a bus stop near the LG plant in the Reynosa Industrial area near the airport.

Last Sunday, a similar grenade attack occurred near the intersection of Calle Michoacán and Calle Morelos near the entrance to the municipal police building in Reynosa. One injury was reported in that attack.

A source with firsthand knowledge of criminal activity stated that the two grenade attacks from Saturday, the grenade attack from Thursday and the previous attack last Sunday were carried out by a cell of Zetitas or Zeta foot soldiers who managed to sneak into Reynosa in an effort to “heat up the plaza”.

The term refers to the practice of attacking high-value targets in a city belonging to a rival organization in order to bring scrutiny from authorities and to create panic among the public.

The practice was successful last February when another Zeta cell snuck into Matamoros and began throwing grenades in public places including:

- A busy pedestrian commercial area known as “La Peatonal, an attack that left nine injured.

- The Matamoros General Hospital Alfredo Pumarejo, where some military personnel were undergoing treatment after a firefight.

- Near the navy base in Colonia Jardín.

- In the parking lot of Plaza Fiesta, a popular commercial area near the intersection of Calle Sexta and Manuel Cavazos Lerma Boulevard.

Similarly, last August and September another cell of Zetas entered Matamoros and lobbed numerous grenades, including an attack at the army base and one at the Matamoros city hall.

The attacks came to an end when Mexican authorities and Gulf Cartel gunmen, working independently from each other, managed to capture or kill the Zetas who had snuck into Matamoros. The source also said a small group of Zetitas had been captured Saturday in Reynosa by the Gulf Cartel.

Reynosa’s social media account, called DirDeGobReynosa, had been quiet and not reported the previous situations of risk. However on Saturday, the account sent Twitter and Facebook alerts recommending citizens not drive through Boulevard Hidalgo. The account never mentioned a situation of risk.

The social media account was created shortly after the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel went to war in early 2010 and was intended to inform citizens of areas to avoid calling them situations of risk instead of firefights.

The account, however, recently has turned a blind eye to various events by not issuing alerts to firefights such as the short firefight during which the Mexican Federal Police arrested Gilberto “El Tocayo” Barragán Balderas. The account also didn’t send out warning about Sunday’s grenade attack nor about Thursday’s. The user of the account said there were no at-risk situations on Thursday.

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