Armed civilians maintain control of Santa Martha, Chiapas;  government aborts security operation

Chiapas. A operative of security where elements of the Mexican Army, National Guard and state police, was suspended this Thursday morning, a few kilometers from his destination, Santa Marthain the Chenalhó municipality, Chiapas.

From this locality displaced some 200 people in recent daysas a result of the internal struggle experienced by a group of armed civilians whose members dispute 49.5 hectares of land, with a balance that, the displaced say, has left at least six people murdered.

Eight days after the clashes that began in Santa Martha, Jesús Jiménez Velasco, president of the Commissariat of Communal Assets of Santa Martha, “accepts and agrees to the tours in the town,” indicates the agreement signed by him in the foreground, and agreed with the captain of the 31st Military Zone of the Sedena, Carlos Alberto López; with Jamilton Ríos Sánchez, from the National Guard; Edward Rodríguez Ortiz, from the Commission for Dialogue with the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico; among other authorities of the municipal, state and federal governments.

One day after the agreement, around 10 in the morning, the operation involving half a hundred uniformed men and agents from the Chiapas Justice Prosecutor’s Office left the municipal seat of Chenalhó.

Barely 10 minutes after the tour, at the height of the Belisario Domínguez community, the convoy stopped and a Sedena officer asked the reporters who followed the operationdesist of your attempt.

Another person who was part of this security convoy said that those who were in the Santa Martha community did not want anyone to take pictures of the place.

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There, in Santa Martha, displaced people who have left this and nearby towns, assure that there are burned houses, evidence of shots fired with high-caliber weapons, and the remains of people who have been killed by this conflict.

The security operation was aborted and he returned to the municipal seat.

Santa Martha is an area where no means of communication have been allowed access. Since the internal dispute began between the armed group that operates there, the security forces of the Mexican state have not been allowed to enter either.

The authorities of the place -whom the displaced associate with a fraction of the armed group- they have not wanted to give their version either of what happens there. It was not until this Thursday, in the context of the spotlight that the existence of hundreds of displaced people have brought, that the Santa Martha Commissariat of Communal Assets agreed to answer some questions.

He said that in the place there are aggressions in which heavy caliber weapons are used, a situation that has been going on for years and that causes the population to live in fear, but – he added – no effective actions have been implemented to disarm those who make use of this resource.

The Commissioner denied talking about the accusations against him and other authorities, in relation to being part of the now divided armed group. Displaced people and authorities from Santa Martha accuse each other of attacking each other through armed actions, in the context of the dispute over the land that they managed to obtain from their neighbors in Chalchiuitán and Aldama.

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Displaced people without institutional care

They have reached the town of Polhó so far 36 families expelled from Santa Martha. The displaced persons acknowledge the accusations against them, of being part of the armed group; They assure that the armed men are their former companions and now their aggressors.

The accusations are mutual and both parties assure that they ask for disarmament. The current dispute, they reiterate, is for the possession of the lands that were in the hands of the inhabitants of Chalchiuitán and Aldama, who before leaving the land suffered attacks that left dozens of wounded and dead in attacks that continued for more than 5 years. .

In the displaced persons camp, girls, boys and adult men have spent nine days without any authority having come to dialogue with them, and bring them supplies for their survival. Their houses were burned and some of their relatives killed in this dispute that is now being lived inside Santa Martha.

The Government Secretariat of the Government of Chiapas reported that in order to seek a definitive solution to the internal conflict, it has generated 12 assistance tables from June to date, “and with the objective of safeguarding free transit and physical integrity and property of the residents, in the process we have generated six requests for precautionary and precautionary measures (…) the objective is to help and pacify, anticipating and avoiding a response that intensifies violence.

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