Mexican massacre police officers go missing; family gets protection

A federal police armoured vehicle guards outside a funeral home where some of the 72 bodies of men and women that were allegedly killed by the Zetas drug gang are kept in Reynosa , Mexico, on Friday. Photo: AP.

A federal police armoured vehicle guards outside a funeral home where some of the 72 bodies of men and women that were allegedly killed by the Zetas drug gang are kept in Reynosa , Mexico, on Friday. Photo: AP.  

The aftermath of the migrant massacre in northern Mexico continued to unfold on Friday as two police officials went missing and the family of the sole survivor received police protection in Ecuador.

A police officer and a special investigator working on the massacre of 72 migrants were missing, the Attorney General`s Office of the state of Tamaulipas said. There were unconfirmed reports in the Mexican daily La Jornada that two decapitated bodies had been found that appeared to belong to the two men.

In Ecuador, police were providing extra protection to the family of Luis Freddy Lala, 18, the lone survivor of Tuesday’s massacre of 72 migrants. He walked for help despite gunshot wounds and led police to the massacre site.

Lala’s family allegedly received death threats from the human trafficker who was to have facilitated Lala’s trip to the United States.

Officials in northern Mexico’s Tamaulipas province, where the bodies were found, said they had been looking for the two missing men since Thursday, according to Tamaulipas Attorney General Jaime Rodriguez Inurrigarro who was cited in the daily Reforma.

“They did not turn up for work, but we do not have a formal complaint over them going missing,” a spokesman for the office told the German Press Agency dpa.

According to unconfirmed reports by the Mexican daily La Jornada, the decapitated body of the special investigator was found on Thursday.

He was reportedly ambushed as he returned to the town of San Fernando after carrying out preliminary investigation.

Also according to unconfirmed reports in La Jornada, the body of a police commander, also decapitated, was found in the same area, although there was no immediate information linking him to work on the massacre.

Decapitation is a favoured murder tactic by Mexico’s drug gangs aimed at intimidating local people.

Ecuador`s National Migrants Department said on Friday that Lala’s two uncles, several nephews, and Lala`s wife, who is 17 and four months pregnant, live in Ger, a poor region in southern Ecuador.

Agricultural production in this peasant area is increasingly under pressure from rapid erosion and the lack of irrigation options, and conditions are made worse by the lack of electricity and even drinking water.

The human trafficker, whose name was not made public but against whom an arrest warrant was issued in Ecuador, allegedly got 11,000 dollars to help Lala get to the United States illegally. There, the young man was to meet up with his parents, who have been in the state of New Jersey illegally for two years.

Lala was in hospital, with police protection, in Mexico. The gunshot wounds he suffered in the massacre did not prevent him from walking 22 kilometres to report the killings to a military checkpoint.

The government of Ecuador asked that footage of Lala and of his family, along with details of his medical condition, be restricted for security reasons.

The Mexican military were led by Lala on Tuesday to the bodies of 72 Central and South American migrants at a ranch in Tamaulipas.

None of the victims was Mexican, and the authorities were trying to identify them. Thirty—one had been identified by Friday: 14 Hondurans, 12 Salvadorans, four Guatemalans and one Brazilian, the public prosecutor`s office said.

“There are 41 others who have not been identified, because they were not carrying documents,” a source at the Tamaulipas Attorney General`s Office told the German Press Agency dpa.

Most of the victims are young, the source said.

Diplomats from Honduras, Ecuador, El Salvador and Brazil travelled to the area, some 160 kilometres from the US border, on Thursday, in order to assist identification efforts.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 1:33:54 PM |

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