Indigenous Communities of Aquila, Michoacán, Face Violence from Narco-Affiliated Group

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The communities of Aquila, Michoacán, who for years have organized territorial and armed self-defense, continue to face violence at the hands of a criminal group affiliated with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. This communique gives an overview of recent aggressions carried out against the communities of Aquila.

Aquila, Michoacán

November 8, 2019

To the People of Maquili, San Miguel Aquila, Estanzuela, Corralitos, La Naranja, El Otate, La Minita El Guasimal, La Roblera, La Lima, Soliman, Puerto de Xayacate, El Ocote, Tierras Aradas

To the Communities of the Municipality of Aquila

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Indigenous Communities of the Country

To the National and International Media that have been attentive to what is happening in Michoacán and the Sierra-Coast

To the Federal and State Security Institutions

By means of this communique, we inform everyone of the presence of a criminal group at the command of Agustín Villanueva Ramírez and Cemeí Antonio Verdía Zepeda, former members of self-defense groups.

These people have agreed to hand over the Indigenous communities of the municipality of Aquila and their natural resources to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) with the objective to initiate criminal operations like extorsion, kidnapping, disappearances, assassinations, rent fees, the illegal exploitation of natural resources and drug trafficking. That is to say, all the activities of organized crime.

Agustin Villanueva Ramírez and Cemeí Verdía Zepeda are the masterminds of the following acts that occurred in our community of San Miguel de Aquila. This is the record we have made as citizens:

October 8, 2019: Ambush of the Communal Guard of Aquila in the location known as La Naranja, with two members of the security forces injured.

October 10, 2019: Assassination of community member of Aquila, Miguel Sandoval Zambrano, shot dead.

October 28, 2019: Failed entry of the criminal group pertaining to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) to take over the town of San Miguel de Aquila.

November 3, 2019: Ambush and assassination of Abigail Farias Fernández as well as various members of the Communal Guard injured.

November 4, 2019: Disappearance of Mario Alberto García Alcalá.

November 4, 2019: Another failed attempt by the same criminal group of the CJNG to enter and position themselves in Aquila.

November 7, 2019: People from Corralitos, La Naranja, Otate and La Minita report that a group led by Villanueva and Verdía are not allowing access to the community center of San Miguel Aquila, holding it hostage. The surrounding ranches are incommunicado and without indispensable services like food and supplies. They are not allowing them to go to work, that it to say, impeding their right to free transit.

Those of us who are releasing this communique also warned of the social network campaign that people at the service of this criminal group have carried out to defame the security work being carried out by the Communal Guard of Aquila. The Communal Guard has for five years have maintained peace in the communities throughout the municipality, in coordination with other legitimate security groups. There are false accounts in different social networks but the inhabitants of San Miguel Aquila, we are observing and investigating the true events taking place.

Finally, we solicit the municipal president Mohamed Ramírez Méndez to organize so that the different orders of government intervene to guarantee peace and tranquility that the residents and our communities need to have a life of freedom.

To the state and federal governments, we solicit a joint operation for the detention of these criminals at the command of CJNG, with Agustín Villanueva and Cemeí Antonio Verdía Zepeda as their masterminds.

Citizens of San Miguel Aquila and the surrounding ranches.

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