62 Mexican Federal Police Kidnapped in Michaocan

From BorderLand Beat

A total of 62 Policia Federal (PF) agents have been kidnapped in Uruapan municipality in Michaocan state, according to a several Mexican news accounts.

Twelve PF agents apparently happened upon a roadblock maintained by local indigenous Angahuan and Carapan Indians when they were taken prisoner   Indigenous Indians are protesting illegal logging in the Meseta Purepecha area, according to a report posted on the website of El Sol de Zacatecas news daily.

According to a late article posted on thw website of El Sol de Mexico news daily, a total of 50 additional PF agents were kidnapped. The article failed to elaborate when and where the additional police were kidnapped.

The roads between Uruapan and Paracho, and Los Reyes and Zamora are being blocked as well as roads near Angahuan Capacuaro, Santa Cruz Tanaco and Tlazazalca.  Those stretches of roads are less than seven kilometers from Cheran municipality, where continual protests against activity residents have claimed as illegal logging has taken place the past two years.

Wednesday a Michoacan government news release said that at least three mixed operating bases would be established in the areas around Cheran, Paracho and Santa Cruz Tanaco. BOM or Base de Operaciones Mixtas, is a mixture of federal and state security forces. The mixing of security forces from all levels of gvoernment is a practice in routine use in Nuevo Leon state to counter drug gangs operating in the area, and to provide patrols.

According to the El Sol de Mexico article the kidnappings are a response to the Michoacan state government plan to beef up security forces in the area.  PF have also been asked to leave the area by indigent Indians.

The news release, which names Michoacan governor Fausto Vallejo Figueroa said a number of repeated meetings would take place to assess the security situation in the area.

The uptick in activity takes place in the wake of the murder of two Cheran residents two weeks ago near Cheran.  The victims, Urbano Macias Rafael, 48, and Guadalupe Geronimo Velazquez, 28 were kidnapped as they attempted to bring in cattle from the fields.  A protest by Cheran residents not only locked local officials in the town hall, but also took place in the capital of Morelia at the legislative palace.

The two men were later found dead.

Issues for local indigenous Indians in Michoacan boil down to illegal use of lands they consider tribal and sacred.  Residents of Cheran have been protesting illegal logging and organized crime activity in the area for years.

Even so, indigenous Indians such as the residents of Cheran have allegedly themselves been involved  in a number of illegal acts such as auto theft carjacking, illegal roadblocks and imposition of illegal duties, as well a number of other petty crimes.

Michoacan is one of the six most heavily reinforced states in Mexico with at least 8,000 Mexican army troops deployed to the area.  Those troops along with elements of Mexican Naval Infantry troops and Policia Federal troops were ordered into the state to provide additional security for the November 2011 elections.  Those troops have only been reinforced since then.

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Georgian Bodyguard Arrested

ImageTBILISI, DFWatch – Police in Georgia say they have arrested five suspects after violent clashes between government supporters and opposition activists Thursday led to thirteen people being hospitalized.

Among them is the bodyguard of former AC Milan player Kakhi Kaladze. The guard was shown on pro-government media with a drawn pistol while Kaladze was being pelted with stones during a campaign stop for the opposition in the village Karaleti, near Gori.

Kaladze, who quit his football career in 2011 to support the new Georgian Dream movement of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, had come to Karaleti to talk to locals. But the event turned into a violent clash after someone started throwing stones. Journalists were also beaten.

The Interior Ministry Saturday released a statement saying that the police has studied all video footage from the incident and identified five suspects: Tsotne Shengelia, Kakha Gogiashvili, Vladmier Janezashili, Giorgi Gochashvili, and Levan Maisuradze; the latter is suspected of having beaten journalist Saba Tistiskashvili.

All five were sentenced to 15 days administrative detention by Gori regional court.

Two of the detainees are members of Georgian Dream, while two are refugees, including Levan Maisuradze, according to Georgian Dream, quoted by a correspondent for Interpressnews.

Representatives of the opposition movement also say that Tsotne Shengelia and two other activists were illegally arrested. Kakhaber Gogiashvili, who is a Georgian Dream activist, was severely beaten and taken to jail, according to them.

Tsotne Shengelia, one of Kakhi Kaladze’s security guards, was arrested in Samtredia, the former football player’s hometown.

Pro-government online television ITV uploaded footage  which shows how one of Kaladze’s guards has drawn his gun, holding it with both hands and pointing it towards the ground, while the guards surrounding Kaladze are trying to get him away from the people throwing stones.

The government portrayed Kakhi Kaladze as having provoked the incident, but footage from online television info9 shows that a person named Gogita Gochishvili provoked Kaladze by mentioning his brother, who was officially announced dead in 2006, after being kidnapped in 2001. Gochshvili told Kaladze that his brother died because his family didn’t pay the ransom. This caused an uproar among the crowd, which was followed by stone throwing.

The football player himself, who won the Champions League twice, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup while playing for Milan, said on the Maestro TV talk show Politmetri that this is not the first time such a thing has happened.

He said that when Georgian Dream’s campaigners arrive at the entrance to a village, there usually is a group of drunken youth waiting together with activists from the ruling National Movement party demanding that they do not enter the village and meet the population.