The Prosecutor’s Office of the state of Sonora, northwest of Mexico, reported this Monday of the arrest of the alleged murderer of the Yaqui indigenous leader Tomás Rojo Valencia, 54 years old and whose remains were found on 17 June after his disappearance was reported on May 27.
At a press conference, the head of the Prosecutor’s Office, Claudia Indira Contreras, indicated that agents of the institution arrested Francisco Hiram, alias “El Morocho”, who was identified as the alleged person responsible for the crime of Rojo Valencia, and recalled that the investigation established that it was killed by a criminal group.
In addition, he said that the detainee was charged as a material perpetrator for the crimes of premeditated homicide, treachery and advantage, as well as criminal association, for which he was already linked to criminal proceedings by the judge.
“The possible motive for the crime and the evidence data derived from intelligence and interrogation actions that we have collected strengthen the line of investigation related to criminal groups with interests outside the native Yaqui people, who are interested in illicitly benefiting from the collection of fees in the highway section”, assured the prosecutor.
The authorities recalled that Rojo Valencia was promoting, before the Mexican Government, the installation of a toll booth in the section of the International highway that crosses its territory, to put order in the collection process, a protest measure carried out by the indigenous people for years.
This in order that the benefit was really for the Yaqui community.
Rojo Valencia’s body was found on June 17, semi-buried in a clandestine grave in the community of Vícam, in the municipality of Guaymas (Sonora) and the cause of death was head trauma due to injuries caused by direct contusion.
In 2010, Rojo Valencia spearheaded the so-called war for water in Sonora, which was unleashed when the state government announced the construction of the Independencia Aqueduct to bring water from the Yaqui River basin to the capital, Hermosillo, from where it is currently supplied to more than 300,000 people and which began operations in 2013.
Due to the dissatisfaction of the Yaquis with the overexploitation of their natural resources, the tribe implemented a protest where they had collection points on the Mexico 15 federal highway that in Sonora crosses the territory inhabited by the tribe for 90 kilometers, between the municipalities of Cajeme and Guaymas.
In the last four months, in addition to the disappearance and murder of Rojo Valencia, at least two other crimes against Yaqui indigenous people have occurred, such as the murder of Agustín Valdez, son of the traditional governor in Loma de Guamúchil and head of security in the road blockade, and the shooting of Luis Urbano Domínguez Mendoza, assassinated as he was leaving a bank in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora.
Currently, the Mexican Government, through the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, negotiates with the Traditional Guard, made up of eight tribal governors, the Justice Plan for the Yaqui People, which aims to resolve the historical demands for social and economic development, territorial and preservation of its natural resources.
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