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Mexican government announces military reinforcement in Zacatecas state due to drug violence

The Mexican government announced that it will reinforce security in Zacatecas with 460 soldiers, a state that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador arrived in on Wednesday days after acts of violence linked to drug trafficking were recorded, according to experts.

Since last Thursday, a total of 16 bodies were found hanging in the municipality of Fresnillo, one of the hardest hit by crime.

In recent weeks, the findings of bodies hanging in public places have multiplied.

The Secretary (Minister) of Defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, pointed out that violence in Zacatecas has been on the rise in recent years: 560 murders in 2019, 920 in 2020 and 1,277 so far in 2021.

According to authorities and crime experts, Zacatecas is disputed by the two largest cartels operating in Mexico, the Sinaloa and the Jalisco Nueva Generación.

Faced with this wave of violence, the government announced new measures.

“We are going to reinforce from 25 (November) with 210 Army men (…) of the national guard we are going to increase 250. In total there will be 460 reinforcements (…). With that we are going to avoid confrontation of criminal groups that generate violence in the state, “Sandoval said.

In Zacatecas, 3,848 elements of the Army and the militarized National Guard are already deployed. Later, forces from detachments from neighboring states will join.

Zacatecas has been governed since last September by David Monreal, from the ruling Morena party, close to López Obrador.

The spike in violence led Monreal to dismiss his Secretary of Security last week to appoint a retired general, Adolfo Marín Marín.

According to official figures, Mexico has more than 300,000 murders since December 2006, when the federal government launched a controversial military anti-drug operation.

López Obrador from the opposition was a harsh critic of this military strategy.

As president, he has promoted a policy that he calls “hugs, not bullets,” although he has multiplied the participation of the Armed Forces in security tasks.

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