Morelia, Mexico, June 30 (EFE).- As residents of the town of La Ruana, in the western Mexican state of Michoacán, mourned the slain leader of an armed self-defense movement on Friday, his brother warned that civilians would take up arms if justice is not swift.
Hipólito Mora, 67, was the leader and founder of Michoacán’s vigilante self-defense movement that began in 2013 when civilians such as ranchers and farmers banded together to defend the area from cartels.
His younger brother Guadalupe Mora on Friday demanded Michoacán Governor Alfredo Ramírez arrest the group of hitmen who ambushed his brother and three security escorts on Thursday, or he and others would take up arms.
“Many people, friends of mine and friends of my brother Hipólito, have already called me (and told me) that they are with me, that I just say so and we take the weapons. I am going to leave it to the governor … if he does not do justice soon or leaves us alone as we are, we are going to take up arms soon,” Guadalupe Mora warned.
Ramírez made it clear that his government will not allow a new armed civilian uprising.
“There is no justification for groups outside the law, whatever they are called – organized crime, criminal groups, self-defense groups… Any group of armed people, whatever they are called, we are going to stop it,” said Ramírez, a governor close to President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador.
On Friday the body of Hipólito Mora lay in his La Ruana home, two streets from where heavily-armed hitmen attacked his vehicle and that of his security escorts, riddling Mora’s with bullets and setting it on fire. All four were killed.
In a wooden coffin, on which his unmistakable hat from the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán was placed, Mora was watched over by just some family members and close friends, given the lack of security in the area and fear of a new attack.
Also Friday, more than 24 hours after the attack, personnel from the Michoacán Attorney General’s Office returned to the scene of the crime to search for and bag evidence such as shell casings and belongings of Mora and his escorts that were scattered in the attack.
Mora was originally from La Ruana, where he and others took up arms on Feb. 24, 2013 against the Knights Templar drug cartel.
He had survived two attacks: the first on Nov. 26, 2022, and another on Mar. 4 of this year, both in La Ruana.
Currently, in the region of Tierra Caliente, criminal groups Los Viagras, the Knights Templar and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel operate, fighting with blood and fire for control of illegal activities in the area. EFE