New Strategy on Juarez Violence
POSTED: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 7:43am
UPDATED: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 1:04pm
Juarez - The Mexican government says federal police will take over the anti-crime campaign currently headed by
the army in the violent border city of Ciudad Juarez.
The army deployment has come under criticism from those who say soldiers are not trained for police work, and complaints they conducted illegal searches and detentions.
But perhaps more important is the fact that killings have continued apace, even with troops in the city across the border from El Paso.
An unspecified number of soldiers will remain in Juarez to help combat drug gang violence that killed more than 2,600 people last year, and 500 more so far this year in the city of 1.3 million.
Mexico's Interior Department said today that, starting tomorrow, "the Mexican army will start gradually transferring responsibility for public safety to civilian authorities, to federal authorities at the beginning and gradually to state and local" forces.
The statement said 1,000 federal officers will be added to the police deployment in the city, bringing the number of federal agents to 4,500.
More than 7,000 troops had arrived in Juarez by mid-2009.
The department said the change was part of a new strategy to focus on social programs as an answer to the continuing violence.