July 16, 2024

At least 19 bodies were discovered on Monday in an abandoned truck in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala, according to the state’s attorney general.

Five of the bodies had gunshot wounds and all were wearing dark clothing and tactical vests containing ammunition, authorities said.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attributed the deaths to cartel violence and said some of the victims were migrants from Guatemala.

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“What causes this? Well, drug trafficking and the trafficking of migrants, meaning human trafficking, it’s a route,” Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday during his daily press conference.

“There are two groups (cartels) fighting … the people of the area are being protected,” he added.

Some Chiapas natives disagree.

“It’s sad and I can’t say otherwise, it’s sad that the violence came all the way here,” one resident told CNN en Español.

“A lot of fear, I was born and grew up in Chiapas, but given the violence in the state I had to migrate, I live somewhere else now, outside the state and only come to visit my family,” said another.

The president promised a thorough investigation into the deaths and said security in Chiapas will be reinforced.

Violence has been on the rise in Chiapas as cartels fight for control of lucrative routes for smuggling migrants and drugs.

The Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel have been engaged in a turf war in the area, with hundreds forced to flee their homes last January.

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