Residents of the Mexican town where cartel leader Ovidio Guzman, the son of notorious drug kingpin El Chapo, was arrested last week say that over 100 people have disappeared from the town since the arrest.
Residents of the city of Jesus Maria in the Mexican state of Sinaloa protested outside a government palace on Monday claiming that 140 people have disappeared since Guzman was captured in a violent and deadly clash between Mexican government forces and the Sinaloa drug cartel.
In the state capital of Culiacan, 200 demonstrators in trucks waved placards and shouted slogans accusing the Mexican army of human rights violations and demanded answers about the military presence in their town over the past several days since the capture of Guzman on Jan. 5.
Mexican government officials say that no civilians were killed during the melee, but locals say that dozens of people are missing, mostly young men and women between 12 and 35 years of age.
Cristóbal Castañeda, Sinaloa’s Public Security Secretary, confirmed reports of missing people but did not know the exact number.
“We don’t really have a number of people not located,” Castaneda said. “They are waiting for the complaints to be established; we need to know whom to look for… we know that the Semefo [Forensic Medical Service] has been handing over the bodies of those identified.”
Residents of Jesus Maria have also expressed anger that the town’s electricity, water supply, and telecommunications systems were cut off by the military before and during the attack. Additionally, residents have said they are unhappy the military continued to occupy their town days after the raid was concluded.