June 18, 2015
Proceso reports that various NGOs in Mexico have warned of another possible massacre of migrants in the north of the country. The NGOs Amnesty International, Fundar, Casa del Migrante Saltillo and others announced on Monday they have collected testimony from 13 Central American migrants who claim to have narrowly escaped a shooting incident that may have killed dozens of their companions.
According to the testimony, between 110 and 120 undocumented migrants were driving through the Sonora desert on June 2nd as part of a five-car caravan headed to the border. Near the Arizona border, one of the cars broke down, forcing the caravan to halt. At that moment, the migrants were approached by a man dressed and armed as a soldier. He ordered them to drop to the ground, and then began shooting indiscriminately at the group. As survivors began running into the desert, another man appeared and shot at them.
Some of the survivors said they saw their companions fall to the ground, hit by bullets, but in the panic, were unable to determine how many.
An anonymous source close to the Mexican Migration Institute said that: "We don't know how many people died or how many were injured." The source added: "there are more than 80 disappeared in the desert."
So far there has been no official statement by state investigative police. Despite the severity of the case, it has not been taken over by federal police according to Proceso.
In a statement, the NGOs said: "Nearly two weeks after the event, it is worrying not to have any information about the investigation. It is also worrying there is no information about the whereabouts of the other people who travelled in the group and were not rescued, including possibly several women and children, given that the conditions in the desert are extreme."
According to the anonymous source, the Migration Institute did not inform the survivors of their right to a humanitarian visa under Mexican law. Instead, it obliged them to sign a document renouncing the right to remain in Mexico and accepting immediate deportation.