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What We Know of the Ambush in Aguililla, Michoacán, That Killed 2 Soldiers

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On May 13 2021, soldiers were attacked by alleged cartel members in the municipality of Aguililla. Riodoce newspaper points to the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) as the culprit behind the attack whereas other outlets such as Diario de Morelos is careful to point out that the CJNG and La Familia Michoacana are both operating in this area.

According to local media, the Army soldiers were ambushed in the town of Las Higuerillas while they were traveling in a vehicle convoy, carrying out a reconnaissance mission. Las Higuerillas Tarepe is a town roughly ten minutes away from the municipal capital of Aguililla, Aguililla city. Some tweets suggest the attack happened between 1-2pm but this cannot be confirmed.

A source from the XLIII Military Zone said that the soldiers were traveling in at least two vehicles and were ambushed by hitmen  during this reconnaissance operation, shooting them repeatedly with assault rifles. The military repelled the attack but three soldiers were badly injured. Two died of their injuries. There have been no arrests announced so far in connection to this event.

Cambio 22 reports that locals say state police were traveling to reinforce the soldiers, but that the hitmen allegedly blocked the road at the height of Bonifacio Moreno, Aguaje, and the reinforcements were attacked as well. This allegedly led to further clashes between the cartel members and the military, with the battles lasting into the night. More military personnel and a military helicopter were called in to help. They arrived on scene to support the fallen soldiers. When La Silla Rota reached out to federal forces for a comment on the attack, they did not respond.

During President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s morning press conference, he confirmed the local media’s reports of an attack on Army soldiers in Aguililla, Michoacan. He commented, “Yesterday, unfortunately they ambushed a group of soldiers near Aguililla. They murdered two, I send my condolences and solidarity to their families.”

He continued “The attitude of the Army and Navy is to respect human rights, it is no longer an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, they are no longer the massacres that existed previously,” said the president.

On the same day, the Solidarity Encounter Party (PES) candidate for governor Hipólito Mora Chávez said attacks like Aguililla happen because municipal, state and federal forces have been involved with organized crime in the region, saying “the strengthening of crime and the attacks on the security forces is a product of bad governments, both federal and state, and of the municipal governments, most of them are controlled by organized crime.”

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), left; Hipolito Mora, right
He commented on the frequent ditches built in roads in Aguililla and the constant need for security forces to repair the road, saying “People cannot go out to work, but why do they let armed people pass through? In La Ruana I have seen hitmen’s trucks that say ‘autodefensas‘, why don’t they go for them?”

He emphasized that leaders have to do their duty because “as long as they remain silent and support criminals, this type of aggressions will continue, we must not forget that the military have fathers, sons, brothers, we must not allow them to be stoned or disarmed, but the orders come from above, and they do not even have decent salaries.”

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