Pijijiapan, Mexico, Nov 1 (EFE).- One of the roughly 5,000 undocumented migrants making their way northward from southern Mexico was fatally shot, while Mexican activists accompanying the caravan said Monday that a dozen other migrants were wounded in an attack by security forces.
A Cuban national identified only as Cristobal N was found dead Sunday near an abandoned vehicle on a country road in Pijijiapan, the Chiapas state Attorney General’s Office said.
Police discovered a long gun inside the vehicle, the AG Office said in a statement.
The victim was about 20 km (12 mi) ahead of the main body of the caravan, which did not reach Pijijiapan until mid-day Monday.
In a related development, a representative of the immigration rights group People Without Borders said that Mexican National Guard troops opened fire on migrants, wounding at least 13.
Irineo Mujica said that the injured were being treated at a hospital and urged the United Nations to get involved, adding that a formal complaint had already been filed with Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission.
Efe reached out to various state and federal institutions, but none was willing to comment officially on the death of the Cuban migrant and Mujica’s allegations, though the National Guard said that it might release a statement in the coming hours.
A federal official subsequently told Efe on condition of anonymity that the national Attorney General’s Office will take charge of the investigation of the killing of Cristobal N in view of the “incompetence” of authorities in Chiapas.
In the 10 days since they set out from Tapachula, near the Guatemalan border, the migrants – many of them children – have traveled more than 100 km, less than 10 percent of the distance to their intended destination of Mexico City.
Four previous caravans of Haitian, Venezuelan and Central American migrants that left Tapachula with the aim of reaching the United States were broken up by Mexican authorities.
Images and videos of those encounters showed Mexican soldiers and National Guard personnel beating migrants.
On this occasion, the migrants are headed to Mexico City in hopes of persuading the national government to issue them with documents allowing them to travel legally in the Aztec nation.
Besides dealing with hunger, the subtropical heat and the hostility of some officials, the migrants are battling health problems.
Mexico’s INM immigration agency said Monday that six of the people in the caravan have dengue fever.
Three of the six people diagnosed with the illness declined to be treated, preferring to continue with the caravan, the IMM said.
The INM detected 147,000 undocumented migrants on Mexican territory in the first eight months of 2021, a threefold increased compared with the same period last year.
During the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, US Customs and Border Protection detected more than 1.7 million unauthorized migrants trying to enter the country. EFE