50 bodies found in Mexican mass grave

Updated 16 Dec 2019

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A staff member of the Specialized Prosecutor's Office for Missing Persons works at El Mirador neighborhood in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Mexico on Nov 22. — AFP
A staff member of the Specialized Prosecutor's Office for Missing Persons works at El Mirador neighborhood in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Mexico on Nov 22. — AFP

GUADALAJARA: The bodies of at least 50 people have been unearthed from a mass grave at a farm outside Mexico’s western city of Guadalajara, local authorities said.

The grim site was discovered just over three weeks ago in Jalisco — a state hard-hit by violence linked to organised crime. The local prosecutor’s office said on Saturday 13 of the dead — 12 men and a woman — have been identified and the remains given to their families.

The process of identifying more of the victims and how they died would continue, it added.

A mass grave with 34 bodies was discovered in a suburb of Guadalajara on Sept 3, while another was found nearby in May with the remains of 30 people.

Nearly 2,500 murders were reported between January and November in Jalisco — where the powerful Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel is based — state authorities have said.

More than 3,000 unmarked graves with at least 5,000 bodies have been found in Mexico since the government deployed the military to fight the country’s powerful drug cartels in 2006.

In July, prosecutors found 21 bodies in the yard of a house near Guadalajara. In May, the remains of at least 34 people were found at two separate properties in Jalisco.

In March, workers were removing mud and debris to clear a storm drain at another spot on the outskirts of Guadalajara, when they began finding plastic bags with the odour of dead bodies. In the end, they pulled a total of 20 bodies out of the storm drain.

Since the controversial military operation was launched, more than 250,000 people have been murdered in the country, a wave of violence many experts blame on fragmented cartels waging war on the army and each other.

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2019