Posted by the Generals on April 29, 2011, 1:14 am
Subject: Mexico News DAILY April 27, 2011 |
LatinNews Daily - 27 April 2011
Mexico’s federal forces report rising drug-war toll
The number of members of Mexico’s federal forces killed in action since President Felipe Calderón escalated the offensive against the drug cartels has risen sharply, though it still accounts for only about 1% of the total drug-war death toll. Information released by the defence, navy and public security ministries shows federal force fatalities rising from 72 during the seven years prior to Calderón taking office to 398 since then.
The information was published in response to a request filed by the newspaper El Universal under the freedom of information law. It covers federal force fatalities from 1 January 2000 to 22 March 2011. The marines, who have earned themselves a reputation as the most gung-ho and effective force, have managed to keep their casualties much lower than the other two. Of the 470 fatalities reported in the entire period, 318 were suffered by members of the federal police, 138 by the army and 14 by the marines.
Fatalities among the federal police officers, though higher than those of their military counterparts, are dwarfed by the more than 1,700 suffered jointly by state and municipal police forces. Two distinctions must be made regarding the law-enforcement agencies. First, the bulk of the federal police elements deployed in the anti-cartel drive are actually members of the military drafted into the police’s ‘federal support’ units. Second, many of the deaths of state and municipal police officers are not strictly speaking part of the anti-cartel drive, but ‘settling of accounts’ or reprisals between rival cartels vying for control of these agencies.
The latest set of figures on federal force casualties are not easy to reconcile with previous sets, in part because of different scopes and timeframes, but also because of discrepancies that have not been officially explained. One possible reason for discrepancies could be that the defence ministry logged as army casualties those suffered by the soldiers seconded to the federal police, before they were formally transferred to the PF.
A list posted in a defence ministry museum and shown to the media in August 2010, showed army casualties amounting to 694 since 1976, 191 between 1 December 2006 and 1 August 2010, and 56 in the first seven months of 2010.
In mid-October that year, in response to a freedom-of-information request by the newspaper Milenio, the army reported 115 killed in action since 2006. Separately the navy reported seven killed in action in the same period. It is interesting that the army reported 119 of its members killed in car and air accidents in the same period. In July 2009 the newspaper La Jornada cited the defence ministry as reporting that the army had suffered 111 fatalities in action since December 2006.
The number of states in which federal force fatalities have been reported has risen from 17 by mid-2009 to 25 by mid-2010, then to 27 by March 2011.
Federal force fatalities
Killed in action, 1 January 2000 to 22 March 2011
Nuevo León 30
San Luis Potosí
Baja California 11
Others(1) 118 (2/3)
2)Of whom 398 during the Calderón administration.
3)Of whom 318 were federal police officers, 138 members of the army and 14 marines.
Source: El Universal, based on reports by Sedena, Semar and PF.
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