In the early morning of July 28 people thought to be members of the rebel Revolutionary Popular Army (EPR) assaulted a site in Chiapa de Corzo, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, where a federal prison is being built. No injuries were reported in the incident, during which an unknown number of attackers captured the three guards at the site and locked them in a guard booth. The attackers then shot up the site and painted slogans on the walls. Municipal police arrived when they heard the shooting; they found about 40 used cartridges on the scene.
The action was apparently meant to dramatize the EPR’s demand for the release of EPR leaders Alberto Cruz Sanchez and Edmundo Reyes Amaya, who were allegedly captured in the southern state of Oaxaca on May 24; the federal and the Oaxaca governments both deny that they are holding the two men. The incident follows attacks on Mexican gas pipelines on July 5 and 10 which the EPR reportedly carried out to demand the release of Cruz Sanchez and Reyes Amaya. The slogans painted on the walls at Chiapa de Corzo were: “They were taken alive, we want them back alive,” “EPR will win,” “Long live the EPR” and “Freedom for political prisoners.” (La Jornada, July 29)
This was the second attack on a Mexican prison in two days. On the evening of July 26, about 20 men armed with AK-47 assault rifles attacked a prison in Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca. Authorities said one police agent was wounded. Official sources suggested that people involved in drug trafficking were attempting to free a prisoner. Some local people claimed that the attack was by an elite army unit, the Airborne Special Forces Group (GAFE), which they said was raiding a nearby residence and attacked the prison by mistake. Oaxaca state citizen protection secretary Sergio Segreste denied the army was involved, noting that the army doesn’t use AK-47s. He also denied that the EPR carried out the assault. (LJ, July 27, 28)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 29