Wednesday, 1 July 2015

160 feared dead after two attacks on migrants in Mexico

Over 220 Central American migrants were violently attacked in two different instances in Mexico; according to Mexican newspaper Excelsior only about 60 managed to escape alive.

In one case, survivors of the attack say they were shot at by men in military uniforms. In the other case, they were brutally attacked by unidentified people armed with rifles, pistols and machetes.

The first case occurred in Las Choapas, Veracruz state, some 400 miles southeast of Mexico City. About 100 Central American migrants, including women and children, were traveling on a local freight train when they were suddenly attacked by various men armed with shotguns, handguns and machetes.

And according to Excelsior, only 44 managed to escape alive. There is no information as to the whereabouts of the remaining 56 or more migrants that were attacked, and authorities have not offered any information, which has drawn the condemnation of various human rights groups who are demanding an investigation.

However, as of the night ot June 17, no Mexican government office had responded. The second case occurred in Sonora, near the border with the United States. There is no official information regarding this case either, but according to local media, more than 100 Central American migrants were attacked by at least two men dressed in military uniforms, according to reports on Tuesday by national and international migrant organizations.

Survivors of the attack say the group was traveling toward the border in five vehicles when one of their vehicles broke down, forcing them to stop and take a break. At that point men dressed in military attire appeared. They ordered them to the ground and randomly started shooting at them. The migrants then dispersed and fled away into the desert.

Excelsior says just 16 of those migrants have so far been accounted for. Apparently, more than 84 are still missing. RELATED: 57 Migrants Freed from Kidnappers in Mexico “Some of the survivors said that they saw a number of their comrades fall to the ground during the shooting, but their intentions to escape did not allow them to see how many of them,” local media reported. According to news agency Aristegui Noticias, a 17-year-old migrant told the organizations in an interview that the migrants walked for over 10 hours without water through the desert after having escaped from the shooting. “It was the worst day of my life,” he said.

Another survivor said that “now the only thing I want, after this experience, is to hug and be close to my family.” RELATED: Mexico's Solalinde: Migrant Protest to Go Ahead Despite Threats The organizations reporting the case included Fundar, the Migrant Shelter of Saltillo, Border with Justice, Mission for Migrants and Refugees, among others. They said the armed attack against these migrants is further evidence of the violence that thousands of Central American migrants face during their dangerous trek across Mexico.

The irony, they added, is that the majority are fleeing from violence in their countries of origin, as well as poverty, in search for a better life. Recently, as statistics on the rising deportation rate of migrants in Mexico were released, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission has expressed concern over the “stepped-up actions reportedly being taken against migrant persons and those who defend their rights in Mexico,” noting that migrants and human rights defenders “continue to be targets of attacks in Mexico.”

Wednesday 1 July 2015


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