Lopez Obrador: No impunity in fire that killed 39 migrants

Mexico City, Mar 30 (EFE).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday promised that there will no impunity for the fire that killed 39 migrants but he sidestepped responding on whether the head of the National Immigration Institute (INM) will resign or if the private security company in charge of the migrant center that caught fire is owned by a Nicaraguan consul.

“(I want) to tell you that there is not going to be any impunity, that those responsible will be punished, and I spoke with (Attorney General Alejandro Gertz) to ask him to have no other consideration than to see that justice is done. For them all to act with professionalism, absolute freedom,” the president said in his daily press conference.

The scrutiny into the Mexican government’s handling of the tragedy has grown since the fire broke out on Monday in an INM migrant center in Ciudad Juarez on the US border, where about 70 migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela were being held prior to being deported.

Leaked security camera videos show agents guarding the facility preventing migrants from leaving the center during the fire, although they asking that the door be opened, and countrymen of the victims have declared that the tragedy “could have been avoided.”

But the president did not answer questions about whether Specialized Investigation and Custody Services (Seicsa) was in charge of private security at the migrant center and is owned by Elias Gerardo Valdes, the Nicaraguan consul in Nuevo Leon and Coahuila and who has received multimillion dollar contracts from the Mexican government, according to a report by the LatinUs media outlet.

“Your question will be answered, but I don’t want to get into that because, since it’s an open investigation, I don’t want to reveal information or alleged acts. Everything will come out in the investigations, and (nothing’s) going to be used so that those responsible can seek protection,” he said.

In like manner, Lopez Obrador did not demand Garduño’s resignation despite the clamor by opposition members and human rights defenders that the INM chief step down.

“Everyone’s going to (have to) await the result of the investigation, which the Attorney General’s Office is handling, regarding the initiation of the appropriate judicial proceedings,” he said when asked about the matter.

The Citizens Safety and Protection Secretarias (SSPC) announced on Wednesday that is had identified eight people presumably bearing some responsibility in the fire, including two federal agents, one state immigration agent and five members of the private security firm.

Lopez Obrador also said Thursday at 3 pm that the SSPC will offer a press conference to discuss the matter.

“Today at 3 pm (the SSPC) will report about the punishment for those alleged to be responsible for these regrettable events, and I reiterate, first of all, my condolences to the relatives. It’s a very sad – very, very sad – matter,” the president said.

EFE –/bp

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