By Erica Laster Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
MEXICO CITY, Mexico – 11 suspects have been arrested in connection with the discovery of 72 bodies in eight mass graves located in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas on Friday. This is the second time in eight months that authorities have uncovered mass graves believed to be the work of drug cartels in the area. While the bodies have not yet been identified, they are believed to be the passengers of a migrant worker bus which went missing in early March.
Amnesty International has called on the Mexican authorities to investigate.
In late March, a bus transporting migrant workers was reportedly hijacked and all of the passengers kidnapped by an unknown group. After investigating the incident, authorities were led to the town of San Fernando in Tamaulipas where 11 suspects were arrested. Along with the suspects, the state attorney general’s office confirmed the rescue of 5 hostages at the scene.
According to transportation companies and surviving passengers, armed gunmen regularly stop vehicles heading towards the United States border. After pointing out specific male passengers on the buses, they are then taken away. Criminal gangs have been thought to target transit companies and vehicles carrying migrant workers to force them to carry drugs. Kidnapping and ransom have been identified as other possible motives.
The victims’ nationalities have not yet been identified.
President Felipe Calderon’s office issued a statement regarding the discovery of the gravesites.
“These reprehensible acts underline the cowardice and the total lack of scruples of the criminal organizations, which generate violence in our country, and especially in the state of Tamaulipas.”
Despite the Administration’s condemnation of the mass murders, Amnesty International criticized Mexico’s inability to protect not only its citizens, but people passing through the country. Amnesty International Researcher Rupert Knox stated that “The mass graves found yesterday once again show the Mexican government’s failure to deal with the country’s public security crisis and reduce criminal violence which has left many populations vulnerable to attacks, abductions and killings.”
Knox further pointed out that, “All too often such human rights crimes have gone unpunished, leaving criminal gangs and officials acting in collusion with them free to target vulnerable communities, such as irregular migrants.”
The U.S. State Department issued a human rights report on Mexico based on cases from Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission. The report noted Mexico’s military and police participation in and inability to control “unlawful killings by security forces; kidnappings; physical abuse; poor and overcrowded prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and detention; corruption, inefficiency, and lack of transparency that engendered impunity within the judicial system; confessions coerced through torture.”
Photo Courtesy of the Washington Post. For More Information Please Visit:
CNN – More Bodies Discovered IN Mass Graves In Mexico – 8 April 2011
CNN – 59 Bodies Found In Mexico Mass Graves – 7 April 2011
Washington Post – More Missing Found In Mexico’s Mass Graves – 8 April 2011