In the absence of local leaders who assume responsibility for security in Sonora, any improvement that can provide a federal intervention is fragile and temporary
Last Thursday, the municipalities of Guaymas and Empalme, located in southern Sonora, were the scene of a macabre ride: a group of hitmen, traveling in a convoy of five vehicles, killed two people, kidnapped another and set four houses on fire .
It was not the first similar attack of recent weeks in the region. On September 10, three people died, including an eight-year-old boy, after gunmen kidnapped a young man in Empalme, sprayed the house with gasoline and set it on fire. A two-year-old baby was also in the house and suffered severe burns.
Two weeks earlier, in the same municipality, six people, including a minor, were riddled on a country road after a horse race.
Those are just some vignettes of the wave of violence that has been going on in Sonora for three years. Between 2016 and 2018, the homicide rate in that state increased from 20 to 31 per 100 thousand inhabitants, according to Inegi data. And 2019 aims to be much worse: the number of victims of manslaughter and feminicide increased 57% in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period of 2018.
What is behind this swell of blood? According to local press versions, the escalation of violence would be linked to a conflict between two criminal groups: the Salazar band, originally from Navojoa, and the Fausto Isidro Meza band, aka El Chapo Isidro. That individual was for years in the orbit of the Beltrán Leyva and would now be an ally of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel.
In dispute is the control of the traffic of cocaine and methamphetamines to the border with the United States, but also the rent that the huachicol still leaves: at the end of July, a camp was found in the municipality of La Colorada, near Hermosillo, with 46 thousand liters of stolen fuel. There is also the usual combination of kidnapping and extortion, both in face-to-face and telephone mode.
It is no accident, therefore, that the perception of security has seriously deteriorated in Sonora. According to data from the National Urban Security Survey (ENSU), the percentage of people who feel insecure in Hermosillo went from 62.9% in March to 75.6% in June.
At the origin of this crisis, there is a notable lack of resources in security and justice institutions. In 2017, according to the National Census of Government, Public Security and State Penitentiary System, Sonora had only 829 state police. The State also had more than 4200 municipal police. That is, in total, approximately 5,000 police officers to cover a territory of 179 thousand square kilometers.
The federal government itself has recognized that institutional weakness. At the beginning of September, he announced an intervention in the municipal police of Guaymas and Empalme, and in a second stage, in those of Hermosillo, Cajeme and Navojoa. According to the announcement of Alfonso Durazo, Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection, corporations will be refined, commanders will be replaced by military officers and public security in those communities will be temporarily in the hands of the Armed Forces.
Will such an intervention serve, similar to that attempted in many other states at many other times for thirteen years? I wish, but I have my doubts. In the absence of local leaders who assume responsibility for security, any improvement that can provide a federal intervention is fragile and temporary.
And, for now, those leaderships are nowhere to be seen.
Y, por ahora, esos liderazgos no se ven por ningún lado.
Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación que ópera en la región del Valle De Guaymas y Empalme, bajo las ordenes de Tony Navidad, primo hermano de Sajid Quintero Navidad, alias “El Cadete”.
El pasado 11 de septiembre, un grupo armado incendió una casa en a colonia Libertad, en Empalme, Sonora, donde se encontraban 2 menores y su madre, quiene perdieron la vida.
Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación that operates in the region of Valle De Guaymas and Empalme, under the orders of Tony Navidad, cousin of Sajid Quintero Navidad, aka "El Cadete".
On September 11, an armed group set fire to a house in Colonia Libertad, in Empalme, Sonora, where two children were found and their mother, who lost their lives.
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