A notorious Mexican cartel burned down dozens of businesses and also torched cars in a protest aimed at pressuring the government into releasing a captured leader.
The Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) were behind Tuesday's night of violence in the states of Jalisco and Guanajuato.
From about 8pm, CJNG members began to hijack and burn vehicles in the city of Zapopan, near Guadalajara, Jalisco with copycat attacks subsequently breaking out across nine cities in Guanajuato.
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While buses and other vehicles were primarily targeted to create blockades in Zapopan, businesses such as corner stores, gas stations and pharmacies were the main focus of the Guanajuato fires.
OXXO – the Mexican convenience store company – have reported that 25 of their shops, alone, were left partially or completely destroyed during the frightening scenes.
In videos, armed raiders were shown storming into businesses and clearing the buildings with warning gunfire, before burning them down with grenades or accelerants.
It is believed that the Zapopan disorder might have been designed to slow the response of police on the roads, with the cartel's actions in Guanajuato aimed at creating genuine terror as the CJNG lashed out against the government.
Schools, meanwhile, were closed the following day by local authorities, who feared the violence might continue.
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A local security expert David Saucedo, informed news blog Borderland Beat that the CJNG committed the attacks in reaction to the police's capture of one of their high-ranking leaders earlier in the day.
CJNG logos can also be seen on the vests of those burning businesses in video footage, while some are shouting their allegiance to the cartel's leader "Don Mencho".
Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has stated that the violence resulted from the capture of criminal leaders, adding that it started after the army disturbed a meeting between two criminal groups.
Enrique Alfaro, the governor of Jalisco, stated that five unnamed criminals had been captured, along with nine vehicles, 31 rifles, four machine guns and various explosives.
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