Ten Indigenous Musicians Were Ambushed And Shot Dead In Guerrero, Mexico—Authorities Believe The Perpetrators Were Part Of A Drug Cartel
Ten indigenous musicians were shot dead and burned in an ambush in western Mexico.
10 integrantes del grupo musical indígena “Sensación” fueron asesinados y calcinados en el tramo Mexcalzingo-Tlayelpa, en el municipio de Chilapa de Álvarez. https://t.co/ebO1g1OP70
— Moreliactiva (@Moreliactiva) January 18, 2020
The horrible crime is believed to have been carried out by a drug cartel, that has been terrorizing indigenous groups in Guerrero Mexico for nearly 20 years.
The members of the Nahua indigenous group were returning from a party when they were attacked in the town of Chilapa in Guerrero state.
Nos duele e indigna esta imagen pero a ellos les duele más ver cómo son desplazados, ignorados, despojados y asesinados. Solo por ser un pueblo indígena de la montaña de Guerrero que no se quiere someter al mando de un grupo criminal (Los ardillos) pic.twitter.com/n1RPPAxSn0
— vicko hugo (@vicko_hugo) January 23, 2020
The victims, part of the Sensación Musical group, were returning to their Alcozacán community on Friday after playing the day before, said David Sánchez Luna, co-ordinator of the regional indigenous group known as CRAC-PF. Gunmen attacked their vehicle at around 14:00 local time in Mexcalcingo, he said. The victims, all men, were aged between 15 and 42.
The ‘Los Ardillos cartel’, which frequently targets indigenous people in the area, was blamed for the attack.
— La Silla Rota (@lasillarota) January 23, 2020
For over 20 years, Los Ardillos have been trafficking drugs in the mountainous region of Guerrero —throughout this time they have infamously extorted and kidnapped locals to consolidate their power and domain.
The rural ex-cop Celso Ortega Rosas, nicknamed ‘La Ardilla’, was involved in the business of poppy crops in the region of Quechultenango Guerrero, and he is the founder of the criminal group.
Celso "el barco e Iván "La vela" Ortega Jiménez… Máximos líderes de la célula criminal localizados en Guerrero, los hermanos azotan la región montañosa y en su eterna disputa con los "rojos" han llevado terror y sangre a Miles de pobladores. Se disputan…. pic.twitter.com/pVpOD1kmR5
— Bad (@PerroZancudo) January 18, 2020
According to a 2015 article on El Universal, los Ardillos started kidnapping and extorting people. They gave their victims a 24 hour period to vacate their homes before taking possession of the property. In 2008, Celso Ortega Rosas was detained for the kidnapping of a woman, the homicide of two agents of the former ‘Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada (SEIDO)’ a body that has since dissolved and was focused on undercover investigations in the center of Guerrero state.
When the bodies of the victims were found, they were beyond recognition.
Los rostros d los músicos indígenas, d los que pocos hablan. Asesinados y calcinados el 17 de enero 2020 en Guerrero, 5 de los cuerpos son casi imposible de realizar pruebas de identificación.
Integrantes del grupo "Sensación Musical"
Y la justicia en ???????? pa' cuándo?@CorteIDH pic.twitter.com/34tqgR0KEX
— Mina Moreno (@MINAMORENOlex) January 23, 2020
After authorities refused to release them to the families, hundreds of indigenous people blocked a road on Friday night, according to La Jornada newspaper.
Authorities shared the names of the deceased victims.
Indigenous musicians killed in ambush in Guerrero. The Los Ardillos cartel, which frequently targets indigenous people in the area, was blamed for the attack. https://t.co/Ds7G73twr0
— atasteofcreole (@atasteofcreole) January 19, 2020
The men who lost their lives were: José Julio y Cándido Fiscaleño Hilario; Crescenciano Migueleño Coapango; Israel Tolentino Ahuelican; Israel Mendoza Pasado; Regino Fiscaleño Chautla; Antonio Mendoza Tolentino; Lorenzo Linares Jiménez; Juan Joaquín; y Marcos Fiscaleño Baltazar.
The Guerrero prosecutor’s office said it was investigating the case.
— Milenio Televisión (@mileniotv) January 22, 2020
Guerrero is one of Mexico’s most violent states, where drug gangs fight for control of trafficking routes to the Pacific and other parts of the country. Los Ardillos have been linked to dozens of deaths in recent months, including many indigenous people, according to local media.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has opted for a non-confrontational approach to the cartel.
La política de abrazos y no balazos, de “dejar hacer, dejar pasar a la delincuencia, de pactar con ellos en aras de asegurar la presidencia, la colocación de incompetentes en puestos clave, la improvisación y las decisiones tomadas con el hígado, hacen hoy un Mexico VIOLENTO ???????? pic.twitter.com/NTgMg1xgqb
— Rahulk (@RahulkMx) January 23, 2020
Focusing, instead, on tackling inequality central to his efforts under a policy dubbed “abrazos, no balazos” – hugs not bullets. But this policy has come under fire after a number of high-profile attacks, including an ambush in which nine members of a Mormon community were killed. The president vowed to create a new National Guard to tackle violence, but few have signed up to the force amid fear of being killed on the job.