Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico sends federal forces to violence-ridden region

Mexican federal policemen patrol a street in Acapulco on 3 December, 2014. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Federal police and soldiers went on patrol in the streets of Acapulco

Federal security forces have been sent to dozens of towns in the Mexican states of Guerrero, Mexico, Michoacan and Morelos.

Federal police and troops will replace municipal forces in the resort of Acapulco and more than 30 other towns.

The deployment comes a week after President Enrique Pena Nieto unveiled a plan to reform the police.

The reform is aimed at tackling mistrust in the authorities following the disappearance of 43 students.

Public anger

The students went missing on 26 September in the town of Iguala in the state of Guerrero after clashing with the municipal police force.

Municipal officers have told investigators they were ordered to intercept the students by the local mayor.

The officers said they handed the students over to members of a local drugs gang.

The Mexican Attorney General says members of the drugs gang killed the students and burned their remains.

However, relatives of the missing say they will not believe the 43 are dead until there is forensic proof.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Relatives of the missing want the search to continue

Tests on remains found at the rubbish dump where the bodies were allegedly burned are currently being tested at a laboratory in Austria.

The disappearance of the 43 has trigged protests across the country by Mexicans angry at the government's handling of the case.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protesters angry with the Guerrero state authorities attacked buildings in Chilpancingo on Wednesday

Travel warning

National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said the goal of the deployment was "to restore security conditions and re-establish the rule of law and peace in all the towns of this region".

He said that he hoped that, with the Christmas holidays approaching, visitors would "have the certainty that they will have the necessary guarantees to enjoy their time off" in the popular Pacific resort of Acapulco.

Two weeks ago, the US embassy in Mexico cautioned its citizens to "defer non-essential travel to Acapulco, by air or land".

President Pena Nieto is expected to visit Acapulco later on Thursday to unveil plans to boost economic and social development in the region.

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