Car bombs rock Mexican city in wake of migrant massacre

By Calvin Palmer

Two car bombs early today rocked Ciudad Victoria in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, where authorities are investigating the killing of 72 migrants.

The explosions occurred less than 45 minutes apart, the Attorney General’s Office said. The first exploded in front of the offices of the Televisa network and the second in front of transit-police offices.

No one was injured but both blasts caused some damage to buildings and knocked out the signal of the Televisa network for several hours.

The explosions follow the disappearance on Wednesday of a state prosecutor, Roberto Jaime Suarez, in San Fernando, where the bodies of the migrants were found on a ranch. A transit police officer in the town is also missing.

Suarez was involved in the initial investigation of the massacre, which authorities have blamed on the Zetas drug cartel. The federal Attorney General’s Office has since taken the lead in the case.

Heavily guarded investigators working at a private funeral home in San Fernando have identified 31 of the 72 massacred migrants, whose bodies were discovered on Tuesday bound, blindfolded and slumped against a wall.

The discovery was made by Marines after 18-year-old Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla, of Ecuador, staggered wounded to a military checkpoint. He is now recovering from a gunshot to the neck at a hospital.

The victims so far identified include 14 Hondurans, 12 Salvadorans, four Guatemalans and one Brazilian.

Diplomats from Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador and Brazil today joined the efforts to identify the victims.

“The barbarity committed in the murder of 72 people, migrants, in our country, shows the level of violence and barbarity with which the criminals are acting,” Mexican President Felipe Calderon said today at a security forum.

The president said drug gangs increasingly used extortion and kidnapping of migrants for financing and recruitment because they were suffering due to a controversial government clampdown on organized crime.

In 2006, Calderon deployed tens of thousands of soldiers to take on the country’s powerful drug gangs. Since then more than 28,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence.

[Based on reports by the Associated Press and AFP.]

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