The Mexican federal prosecutor’s office will open “a thorough investigation” into the armed attacks that occurred over the weekend in Reynosa, a town in the northeast of the country and on the border with Texas, which left 19 dead and a trail of terror among the inhabitants of the area. it is besieged by criminal groups.

This was announced on Monday by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who urged to investigate the reasons for what he described as a “cowardly attack” and to punish those responsible.

“Everything indicates that it was not a confrontation but that it was a commando that shot people who were not in a plan of confrontation,” said the president.

On Saturday armed individuals who were traveling in various vehicles unloaded their weapons against ordinary citizens, including taxi drivers, workers and a nursing student. In the attacks 15 citizens perished, one of them in a health center, and four armed civilians who died in clashes with the police, the state government said.

“There are sufficient elements on the probable participation of criminal groups linked to the commission of various federal crimes, including organized crime, which would be related to criminal groups that operate in the Matamoros, Río Bravo and Reynosa region,” the Tamaulipas government said. in a statement on Monday in which he also indicated that the state prosecutor’s office will work with the federal prosecutor to clarify the facts.

Reynosa is a common scene of acts of violence linked to organized crime and a strategic point for illegal trafficking. In that region, the easternmost part of the border between Mexico and the United States, the Gulf Cartel operates, which has different groups fighting among themselves to control key territories for the transfer of drugs and migrants. Apparently one of the cells from a nearby town is the one that entered Reynosa and committed the attacks.

But despite the fact that violence is not something new, the events of Saturday had an impact on the population.

“We have approximately two years or more without this type of attack on innocent citizens, that’s what changed,” Maki Esther Ortiz, mayor of Reynosa, the largest city in Tamaulipas and the industrial epicenter of the state, told The Associated Press.

“And that is what makes us very restless, with great sadness and mourning,” added the official who asked federal and state authorities for protection.

Ortiz also asked the authorities to clarify whether or not the messages that are being disseminated on networks are credible and that ask people not to leave their homes due to the possibility that they are biased notices from organized crime itself to generate even more fear.

The shootings provoked the mobilization of the Army, the National Guard, the state police and the state prosecutor’s office, which were deployed throughout the city, but according to the Nuevo Laredo Human Rights Committee, an NGO present in the region, coordination failed. between the different security forces.

According to the testimonies collected by this group “for more than an hour anguished calls for help were generated, and no authority responded in a timely manner.” “This situation generated an atmosphere of collective terror and a perception of total insecurity,” the committee added in a statement.

The bloody events occurred almost two weeks before a general election that was shaken by different attacks that left 36 assassinated candidates and increased questions about López Obrador’s security policies.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, expressed alarm on Monday over what was considered a “high level of political violence” registered in Mexico in the midterm elections this month, and urged the Mexican authorities “to ensure accountability” for these acts and to guarantee that they are not repeated, says a letter that was published on the agency’s website.

During the opening of the 47th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Bachelet encouraged the Mexican authorities to “refrain from using language that undermines those who express dissenting opinions or that in any way cast doubt on the independence of autonomous bodies, including electoral institutions ”.

María Elena Morera, director of the local civil organization Causa en Común – which investigates and promotes public policies on security matters – affirmed that the recent violent attacks so far have not impacted the image of López Obrador, whose National Regeneration Movement party (Morena ) and his allied forces won the majority of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 11 of the 15 governorates that were contested in the general elections on June 6.

“Mexicans have been getting used to all these atrocities without there being a real reaction,” Morera told the AP. He added that in the face of “so much violence, people prefer not to assume the pain of the other and then turn to the other side.”

Between January and May, federal crimes have decreased by 27.2%, compared to the same period in 2019, indicated on Monday the Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection, Rosa Icela Rodríguez, who added that in the first five months of the year there was a 2.9% decrease in intentional homicides, compared to the same period last year, which reached a total of 14,243 cases.

Among the entities that have the highest homicide records are Guanajuato, Baja California, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacán and Chihuahua.

Morera pointed out that the number of homicides reduction “is nothing” and said that “it is as if you keep a person in a coma and say that they are doing very well.”

Although the López Obrador government exhibits, after three years in power, its security policy, which is based on the slogan of “hugs, not bullets,” as a success, analysts say that its measures have not been favorable.

“There is no security policy,” said Francisco Rivas, general director of the local civil organization Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano – which investigates the conditions of security, justice and legality – recognizing that what the government applies are “isolated actions” that have not been resolved the problem of crime.

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