Mexico offers to pay for repatriation of Guatemalan migrants killed by police, immigration officers

MEXICO CITY, Feb 23 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The Mexican government said it had offered to cover the costs of repatriating the remains of Guatemalan migrants who were found murdered in the northern state of Tamaulipas last month.

The National Migration Institute (INM) said in a statement that it offered Guatemalan ambassador Mario Bucaro “to cover the repatriation expenses of Guatemalan migrants killed in the municipality of Camargo, Tamaulipas.”

The institute said the repatriation could be carried out once it had been authorized by the local prosecutor’s office, which is conducting the investigations into the case.

On Jan 22, 19 charred bodies were found in Tamaulipas, a state on the border with the United States that has been rocked for years by organized crime gangs.

Sixteen of the dead were determined to be Guatemalan and the other three of Mexican origin. The bodies were found on a country road inside a truck that had been riddled with 113 bullets and then burned, according to investigators.

The state prosecutor’s office said 12 elite police officers were suspected of participating in the killing and had already been detained, along with eight immigration agents.

Inhabitants of Comitancillo, a town in Guatemala, suspect that among the victims could be their relatives, who at that time had decided to cross Mexico with the help of human traffickers in an attempt to reach the United States.

Tamaulipas, on Mexico’s Gulf coast, is the shortest route to reach the United States from the south, but also the most dangerous because of the presence of criminal gangs, which kidnap, extort and murder migrants.

Camargo, the town where the victims were found, is the scene of turf battles between the Noreste cartel, which controls a part of Nuevo Leon, and the Gulf cartel, which has been active in Tamaulipas for decades.

In August 2010, a group of 72 undocumented migrants were killed in San Fernando, in Tamaulipas. Authorities said the massacre was perpetrated by the Zetas cartel, one of the most powerful at the time.

Mexico has recorded more than 300,000 murders since the government used the army to fight drug trafficking in 2006, according to official figures. — NNN-AGENCIES