Mexico: mothers unearth clandestine burial sites

A group of mothers in the Mexican state of Veracruz who came together to search for missing loved ones announced Aug. 14 that they had disovered a total of 28 clandestine graves with remains of some 40 bodies. The women banded together under the name Colectivo Solecito to search for their kin after growing tired of waiting for authorities to do so. They said they found the graves since Aug. 1 in an area north of the port of Veracruz. The group's Lucia de los Angeles Diaz Genaocalled the area "a great cemetery of crime" that is used "like a camp to kill people who have been kidnapped." The discovered remains have been exhumed and delivered to police for forensic analysis.

The mothers say they will continue their search, as they have so far covered only a small portion of the area. Veracruz is being torn by violence between two fueding cartels, the Zetas and Nueva Generación. (AFP, Aug. 14; APRO, Aug. 10)

On Aug. 11, Veracruz state authorities announced the arrest of a supposed Zeta leader, named by his allias "El Cachorro" (The Puppy), who was wanted in the murder of Anabel Flores Salazar, a local newspaper reporter who had been aggressively covering narco-violence in the state. (Univision, Aug. 11)

Violence of this nature has been reported in recent weeks from several Mexican states. On June 20, in Ciudad Victoria, capital of Tamaulipas, city newspaper reporter Zamira Esther Bautista was assassinated in an attack on her vehicle by what authorities described as an "armed commando." (Somos el Medio, June 21)

On June 19, journalist Elidio Ramos Zárate was shot to death by two unknown assailants on a motorcycle as he ate at a restaurant in Juchitán, Oaxaca. He had been covering the ongoing labor protests in Oaxaca state for regional daily El Sur. (CPJ, June 21)

In May, authorities began exhuming 116 bodies found in a mass grave in the central state of Morelos. The grave, discovered last November in the town of Tetelcingo, was brought to the attention National Human Rights Commission by local residents. (BBC News, May 24)

And while authorities are hedging on a motive, 11 members of a single family were killed and two more injured in a pre-dawn raid on their home in Coxcatlán, Puebla, by a group of masked gunmen. (Milenio, June 10)

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