18 ‘Criminals’ Die for Each Soldier: Mexico

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Mexico’s Defense Department said that for every soldier who died in clashes with organized criminal groups in the last five years, 18 alleged criminals were killed.

The Defense Department (Sedena) released figures showing that 2,268 “aggressors” had been killed in confrontations with the armed forces since President Felipe Calderon came to power in 2006, reports Proceso.

The authorities define “confrontations” as clashes between the authorities and suspected criminals, or between criminals, while “aggressions” are when the armed forces are attacked, but do not respond.

There have been 1,948 of these “confrontations and aggressions,” involving the army in the last five years, according to Sedena, killing 126 soldiers.

InSight Crime has reported on the dramatic rise in deaths in the confrontations and aggressions over the past few years, which has raised concerns that this could be due to a rise in extrajudicial killings by the army. As one former Mexican intelligence official told InSight Crime, many in the security forces are frustrated by the skyrocketing death toll and inept Mexican justice system, leading some to take the expedient option.

In total, including those confrontations which did not involve the army — either between criminal groups, or criminals and other branches of the security forces — there were 2,099 deaths in clashes last year, according to the government.

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