Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico investigates new Guerrero disappearances

gunmen patrolling streets of Chilapa 10 May 2015 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Armed men patrolled the streets of Chilapa for five days

Mexican federal investigators are looking into the disappearance of at least 15 people in the city of Chilapa in Guerrero state, after it was overrun in early May by hundreds of gunmen.

Families told police the gunmen claimed they were community police and took away several young men.

Chilapa has been caught in battles between two rival drug gangs fighting for territorial control.

Local media say the number of disappeared could be much higher.

Last year, 43 students disappeared in another town in Guerrero, Iguala.

Police disarmed

The gunmen overran Chilapa between 9 and 14 May, disarming local police and forcing the police chief to leave.

They said they had come to end violence in the city between rival drug gangs Los Rojos and Los Ardillos, and said some police officers were working for Los Rojos.

The gunmen later returned the police weapons.

After they left some residents said the gunmen had been kidnapping and rounding up men. Most of the men were said to be under 30.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Eyewitnesses said the gunmen claimed to be community police
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Soldiers had guarded the entrance to the city, but there are reports they were outnumbered

Federal prosecutors announced on Thursday they were sending detectives and experts to Chilapa to search for the disappeared.

Also on Thursday, police found at least three dismembered bodies wrapped in blankets in a cemetery near Chilapa. They have not been identified.

Jose Diaz Navarro, who is representing the families of the disappeared, said he had an unofficial report of a far larger group of 30 missing people.

He said some families were afraid to speak out and others had already left the city out of fear.

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