Mexico Armed Forces See 45,000 Deserters in 5 Years

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Nearly 45,000 soldiers and marines have deserted the Mexican Armed Forces since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006 and deployed the military in the fight against organized crime.

The number of deserters, some 40,000 of them from the army, represents a significant decrease compared to the previous administrations. Calderon pointed out that the number of deserters in his five years in power was around half of that seen during the six-year presidency of predecessor Vicente Fox.

The president credited the reduction in desertion rates to the fact that the troops were motivated, and to his administration’s focus on improving their quality of life, providing increased salaries and loans for housing.

According to the president, there are currently investigations underway against 1,382 of those who deserted.

The armed forces saw 105 troops killed between the start of Calderon’s presidency and June 2011, according to figures given to Milenio newspaper.

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