Mexico security forces abducted dozens in drug war: rights group

Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:45am EST
 

By Gabriel Stargardter

IGUALA, Mexico (Reuters) - Dozens of people were abducted and murdered by Mexican security forces over the past six years during a gruesome war with drug cartels, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday, urging President Enrique Pena Nieto to overhaul the military justice system.

The rights group said that since 2007 it has documented 149 cases of people who were never seen again after falling into the hands of security forces, and that the government failed to properly investigate the "disappearances."

"The result was the most severe crisis of enforced disappearances in Latin America in decades," the U.S.-based group said. (Human Rights Watch report: r.reuters.com/fyk26t)

It recommended reforming Mexico's military justice system and creating a national database to link the missing with the thousands of unidentified bodies that piled up during the military-led crackdown on drug cartels.

The report was a grim reminder of the dark side of the war on drug cartels that killed an estimated 70,000 people during former President Felipe Calderon's six-year presidency.

The report also illustrates the obstacles that President Pena Nieto, who took office in December, faces in trying to stem the violence, restore order over areas of the country controlled by the drug cartels and end abuses by security forces.

For nearly three years, 56-year-old shopkeeper Maria Orozco has sought to discover the fate of her son. She says he was abducted along with five colleagues by soldiers from the nightclub where they worked in Iguala, a parched town south of the Mexican capital.

She says a grainy security video, submitted anonymously, shows the moment in 2010 when local soldiers rounded up the men.   Continued...

 
Photographs of five of the six young men abducted by soldiers are seen at a desk in Iguala, in the Mexican state of Guerrero February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo