Last Friday evening, a group of displaced Tzotzil indigenous people from the Santa Martha sector was shot at by an armed commando while taking refuge in a warehouse in the Zapatista community of Polhó in Chenalhó, Chiapas.
According to local media reports, the attack perpetrated by armed civilians against men, women, and children left seven people dead and three more wounded.
The night began to fall when the armed commando showed up at a bodega in the town of Polhó and began to fire on the people taking shelter, causing panic among the victims who ran away trying to dodge the bullets.
Information disseminated by the local media Chiapas Paralelo indicated that elements of the Investigative Police and State Preventive Police went to the scene. However, there were no reports of the presence of members of the Mexican Army or the National Guard.
Likewise, the injured people were taken to San Cristóbal de las Chiapas after the armed attack to receive the corresponding medical attention.
Although the identity of the persons who lost their lives was kept confidential, unofficially, it was indicated that one of the dead was the warehouse owner, where between 150 and 200 displaced persons from the Santa Martha sector were sheltering.
Witnesses told local media that the armed attack was perpetrated by a criminal group identified as “Los Ratones,” who have been identified as generators of violence in the state.
“‘Los Ratones’ have always done that. They are killing people. The information we have is that they were paid to go and attack the displaced people with bullets,” mentioned one of the witnesses of the armed attack to the local media Chiapas Paralelo.
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The group of Tzotzil indigenous people was about to spend a month living in the warehouse where the attack took place after, in June 2022, dozens of families were displaced from Santa Martha in the municipality of Chenalhó, bordering Aldama, for allegedly refusing to have their land distributed to other families.
Journalist Isaín Mandujano informed through his social networks that the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE), through the Office of Indigenous Justice, initiated an investigation for the crimes of homicide and injuries against whoever or whoever is responsible for the armed attack.
Chiapas is on the brink of civil war: EZLN
Last Wednesday, May 31, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (original Spanish abbreviation EZLN) released a communiqué through different communication channels in which it condemned the incessant violence that has hit indigenous communities in the state of Chiapas and warned about how close the form is to initiate a “civil war.”
On May 22, members of the Organization of Coffee Growers of Ocosingo (Orcao) perpetrated an armed attack in the Moisés Gandhi community of the autonomous municipality of Lucio Cabañas, seriously injuring a member of the movement that emerged in 1994.
“Chiapas is on the verge of civil war with paramilitaries and hired killers from the various cartels that dispute the plaza and self-defense groups, with the active or passive complicity of the governments of Rutilio Escandón Cadenas and Andrés Manuel López Obrador,” reads a communiqué that the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) published last Wednesday.
Likewise, the communiqué – signed by the EZLN as well as by various civic organizations and cultural and political personalities – denounces that the government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari and even that of Andrés Manuel López Obrador have tried to isolate, delegitimize and exterminate indigenous groups that resist from the communities of Chiapas.
Given the aggressions and threats to which indigenous communities are constantly subjected, a demonstration was called for on June 8 to demand an end to the violence and a response from state and federal authorities.