Mexico: one dead as Yaqui protest pipeline
Yaqui indigenous communities on opposite sides over a proposed gas pipeline through Mexico's Sonora state clashed Oct. 21, leaving at least one dead by gunfire. The confrontation involved close to 300 people from the neighboring communities of Loma de Bácum (Bácum municipality) and Loma de Guámuchil (Cajeme). The former community is opposed to the pipeline project, while the latter is in favor. Bácum community leaders won an amparo (injunction) against the pipeline, which resulted in temporary suspension of construction in the area, and Bácum residents set up a protest camp at the idled construction site. The clash erupted when company workers arrived to resume construction—allegedly in violation of the amparo, and with the support of Guámuchil leaders and local politicians. Accounts are unlcear as to which side the fatality was on, but 13 vehicles belonging to Bácum residents were torched. There were also several injuries, and reports of a second death still not acknowledged by state authorities. The battle lasted three hours before a mixed force of state and federal police backed up by army troops intervened.
Teodulo González, land defense commissioner for Bácum, accused Guámuchil leader César Cota Tortola of being "close to the state government" and receiving "millions of pesos" for his support for the project. The pipeline is being built by IEnova, a subsidiary of California-based Sempra Energy, to deliver natural gas from Arizona to fuel power plants in Sonora and Sinaloa for Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission. (Mexico News Daily, TeleSur, Oct. 22)