TAPACHULA (Mexico) On Thursday, five officers from the Mexican National Guard were injured when they were attacked by a group of migrants who attempted to cross southern Mexico.
Guards were following the march and tried to detain some migrants from Central America. A group of 100-150 men started throwing rocks at two trucks of officers wearing helmets and plastic shields.
According to the Guard, four male officers sustained serious injuries and one female officer was hospitalized. The Guard stated that the officers did not respond to the attack at any time.
The rain of rocks was so heavy that two police officers fell from their trucks onto the highway near Pijijiapan in the southern state Chiapas.
Video footage showed one guard unconscious. Some migrants tried to help him, while another punched him.
Since Sunday's shooting that left one migrant dead, the National Guard has been cautious about confronting migrants.
Although encounters between law enforcement officers and migrants are rare in Mexico, National Guard officers opened fire Sunday on a pickup truck transporting migrants. The Guard claimed that the vehicle had attempted to ram an officer's patrol vehicle.
One Cuban migrant was shot to death and four others were injured.
Later, President Andrs Manuel Lopez Obrador stated that the shooting was not justified and that the pickup, which was apparently driven by a suspected migrant trader, had only tried to pass the checkpoint, but not ram the Guard vehicle. Federal criminal investigations are underway against the guards involved.
Evidently, the migrants in the truck weren't part of the 4,000 mostly Central Americans trying to reach Mexico City by foot. The shooting took place approximately 25 miles (40 km) away from the location of the migrant march.
On Oct. 23, approximately 4,000 migrants set off on foot from Tapachula near the Guatemalan border. In the brutal heat, they have only made slow progress as they trudged along highways for 95 miles (150 km) in just two weeks.
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Mexican officials have tried to dissuade the march by claiming that the poor conditions in which the migrants live are putting their lives at risk. Six cases of tropical fever dengue were reported by the National Immigration Institute to members of the migrant marche.
In 2018 and 2019, larger caravans crossed Mexico, but the migrants didn't attempt to walk the entire distance. They were usually taken by passing trucks.
Mexico has warned truckers to not pick up migrants from the country, claiming that they may be charged with migrant trafficking. They are also afraid that they might be separated from their group and will be deported.
In September, suspected immigrants traffickers killed a National Guard officer.
A dozen officers from the elite Tamaulipas police force are being tried for the alleged murders of 14 Guatemalan migrants. Five other victims were also killed in the incident. Their bodies were discovered near the U.S. border in January.
For months, frustration has grown among thousands of migrants who are waiting at Tapachula close to the Guatemala border. Mexico's strategy was to keep migrants from the south at bay, away from the U.S. border and allow them to apply to asylum in Mexico.
However, Mexico's asylum system was overwhelmed and many decided it wasn't worth the wait.