Armed group in Chenalhó keeps a community under siege, and murders several residents

Armed group in Chenalhó. Photo: Chiapas Paralelo Archive 2020.

By: Ángeles Mariscal

Since Thursday, September 29, an armed group of approximately 60 people in Santa Martha, Chenalhó, has kept the Atzamiló community, located within the same ejido, under siege; it killed at least four people, denounced residents.

The events occurred because at the beginning of this year, in Santa Martha, the population decided to sign a peace and disarmament agreement, which led them to expel from Santa Martha those who make up an armed group that keeps the population of the neighboring municipality of Aldama under siege.

According to the version of Santa Martha residents, this group lowered the level of attacks on Aldama, but keep those who expelled them under threat, and attempt to recover several houses and lands with the use of force.

In this context, last Thursday, September 29, around 10 in the morning, they arrived in the lands of the Atzamiló community to seize cultivation areas. Given the facts, the Ejido Commissioner of Santa Martha, Jesús Jiménez Velasco, went to the place where the armed group attacked, without being injured.

They also shot at the population, burning houses and land with crops on it. Relatives of an elderly man named Juan Antonio Pérez reported that he and another young man died as a result of the shooting. They also explained that Juan Antonio’s wife had to flee with her grandchildren to the nearby mountains.

Aldama resident behind barrier to protect against gunfire from an area in Santa Martha, Chenalhó.

Interviewed via telephone, the Ejido Commissioner, Jesús Jiménez Velasco, said that he fled from the area after the attack given the risk that they would assassinate him: “I left my community because of fear,” he explained. Even before fleeing, the Commissioner had reported the death of a campesino and two more injured by firearms.

Hours later, around eight o’clock at night, neighbors of Atzamiló reported that a state government helicopter flew over the area and was also hit by shots from this community, where the armed group was located.

On Friday afternoon, after a day of being under siege, inhabitants of Atzamiló managed to communicate to denounce that some of them are hidden in the mountains, because the armed group -they say about 60 people- has control of the community and the accesses to the area and to Santa Martha, located several kilometers ahead. They also denounced that there are four people dead and several injured.

They explained that the access roads to that area are blocked by their aggressors, and that authorities of the Chiapas government and the National Guard have not been able to enter area.

“This group wants to continue attacking; they are the ones who attack Aldama. They want to continue the violence; we said no more and that’s why they are attacking us now. We ask that the police arrive because there are people injured and killed by the shots,” explained one of the residents of Santa Martha, who managed to reach the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

The State’s Attorney General (FGE) reported that he opened an investigation notebook for the homicide of Alfredo “N”, “after the events that occurred in the Santa Martha sector, Chenalhó municipality, on the afternoon of Thursday, September 29 of this year.” The agency has not reported on the attacks after the first homicide.

The municipal seat of Chenalhó, in the Chiapas Highlands.

Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Friday, September 30, 2022, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

3 Comments on “Armed group in Chenalhó keeps a community under siege, and murders several residents

  1. wow this is both good and bad news. Terrible that people were killed and threatened, but positive in that the residents of Santa Marta banded together against the agressors who shoot at Aldama from that area.

    • Agreed. It would be helpful to know the organizational affiliation(s) of those who oppose the narco-paramilitaries; in other words, are any of them Las Abejas, Zapatista, Modevite or Pueblo Creyente?

  2. Pingback: Chiapas and the Zapatistas face a dramatic increase in violence II +Armed group burns houses, murders opponents, displaces 32 families.. – The Free

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