Mexican drug war: More than 61,000 classified as missing

Reuters Mexico City, Mexico Jan 07, 2020, 02.26 PM(IST)

More than 60,000 people have disappeared in Mexico since the start of the country's war on drugs in 1964. #Mexico #MexicoDrugwar

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More than 97.4 per cent of the total have gone missing since 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderon sent the army to the streets to fight drug traffickers

The Mexican government on Monday revised upward by as much as 50 per cent the number of citizens classified as missing to more than 61,000, the vast majority of them victims of the country's grinding war with powerful drug gangs that have grown more violent.

The new figure from the one-year-old administration of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador compares to about 40,000 missing cited by the government as recently as June.

"The official data of missing persons is 61,637," Karla Quintana, head of the National Registry of Missing or Missing Persons (RNPED), told a news conference. She said 25.7 per cent of them were women.

Moscow
Image: Members of the Mexican National Guard stand guard as they keep watch outside the prison after sixteen inmates were killed and five were wounded in a prison fight at the Regional Center for Social Reintegration in the town of Cieneguillas, located on the western flank of state capital Zacatecas, Mexico December 31, 2019 | Reuters

More than 97.4 per cent of the total have gone missing since 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderon sent the army to the streets to fight drug traffickers, fragmenting the cartels, which made combating them more difficult.

President Donald Trump offered  to help Mexico hunt the killers of nine Mormon women and children shot dead in a lawless border area and said the United States stood ready to back its southern neighbour in a "war" on the drug cartels.

Gunmen ambushed the members of the LeBaron family, a large clan of Mormons who emigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century, on a rural road Monday between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua, which border the United States.

Mexico
Image: Police officers stand atop a vehicle as they keep watch outside the prison after sixteen inmates were killed and five were wounded in a prison fight at the Regional Center for Social Reintegration in the town of Cieneguillas, located on the western flank of state capital Zacatecas, Mexico December 31, 2019 | Reuters

Earlier, The United States announced that it will expand the scope of a program that returns non-Mexican migrants crossing Mexico's border to that country to await their US court hearings, the Department of Homeland Security.

Washington already has sent more than 56,000 migrants to Mexico under the programme, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). The majority have been Central Americans applying for US asylum.