Mexico sending more troops to violent border zone

Last Updated: Thursday, November 25, 2010 - 21:26

Mexico City: Mexico`s violent north-eastern
corner near the US border will get a boost in troops and
federal police as the government tries to wrest back control
of an area that has become a battleground for two rival drug
cartels.
The new mission, "Coordinated Operation Northeast",
aims to reinforce government authority in Tamaulipas and Nuevo
Leon, the two states under the heaviest attack since the
formerly allied Gulf and Zetas gangs split.

The government also wants to keep the cartels from
regrouping after the loss of key leaders, federal police
spokesman Alejandro Poire said yesterday.

But Poire gave no details on the operation, saying
only that there will be a "significant" increase in forces. He
answered no questions at a media briefing with Mexico security
officials and the two state governors, and the government
later said it would not provide numbers for its forces now in
the area or the level after the reinforcements because of
security reasons.

Intense cartel violence has gripped Nuevo Leon in and
around the industrial, high-tech hub of Monterrey, once one of
Mexico`s safest large cities. Bloodshed also is high across
all of Tamaulipas, which shares a 900-km border with Texas and
some of the busiest border crossings in the world opposite the
US cities of Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville.
"These are geographic factors that have made the area
a coveted route for organised crime in the trafficking of
drugs and people and in receiving illegal money and arms
coming into Mexico," Poire said.

Since the falling out between the Gulf cartel and the
Zetas, its former arm of assassins, Nuevo Leon has seen
regular gang roadblocks on city streets, assassinations of
local politicians and shootouts and grenade attacks that have
killed innocent civilians.

In Tamaulipas, where mayors and a gubernatorial
candidate have also been killed, gang violence has closed
schools, made roads unsafe for travel and blocked some
government oil workers from reaching installations.

Earlier this month, residents fleeing gunbattles in
the state`s once-picturesque town of Ciudad Mier ended up in
Mexico`s first drug-war refugee shelter. In another part of
Tamaulipas, 72 migrants trying to reach the United States were
found slaughtered earlier in the year.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, November 25, 2010 - 21:26

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