8 Die in battle for control of cement plant in Mexico
Mexico City, Apr 27 (EFE).- A struggle between rival factions of Mexican cement maker Cruz Azul turned violent Wednesday as eight people died during an attempt by gunmen to storm a plant in the central state of Hidalgo.
“I energetically condemn the violent confrontations at the Cooperativa La Cruz Azul in Tula, which as of now have left a toll of 8 deaths, 11 people injured and 9 arrested,” Hidalgo Gov. Omar Fayad said on Twitter.
Police responding to an emergency call in the wee hours of the morning arrived to find a pitched battle in progress outside one of the entrances to the plant in Tula, located about 95 km (60 mi) north of Mexico City.
“As a result of the violent events, security forces are guarding the area, authorities from the Hidalgo Attorney General’s Office are inspecting the scene to determine the number of fatalities; the injured people have been taken to clinics for attention,” Fayad wrote.
The governor said that he will urge the rival factions to sit down for negotiations to avert further violence.
For several months, the plant in Tula has been occupied – illegally, according to Cooperativa La Cruz Azul – by a group of workers under the leadership of Federico Sarabia, an ally of fugitive former company director Guillermo “Billy” Alvarez.
In a statement, Cruz Azul disavowed any connection with the attempt to storm the factory.
“It is imperative to clarify that at all times, our actions against Federico Sarabia and those who illegally occupy the plant have been carried out via the legal route,” the company said.
Besides the cement business, the cooperative owns Cruz Azul soccer club, a perennial title contender in the Mexican first division. EFE