The mayor of a Mexican town was assassinated on the first day of the new office.
Alejandro Aparicio Santiago was sworn in as mayor in the indigenous town of Tlaxiaco in the state of Oaxaca on Tuesday morning (January 1).
Later the same day the new leader was traveling to a meeting at a city hall when he was approached by two gunmen and shot just 90 minutes after finishing his oath of office ceremony.
Aparicio Santiago, a member of the National Regeneration Movement, was quickly transferred to a hospital wing of the Mexican Social Security Institute but unfortunately he died there as a result of a bullet wound he suffered in his chest during the attack, the Mail Online report.
Villagers in the area quickly took charge and managed to apprehend one of the suspects, who has not been identified. They beat the man and detained him until police were able to get to the scene, though they were not able to catch the other gunman at the time.
Law enforcement are still searching for the second suspect in the town, which is home to 40,000 people. The governor of Oaxaca, Alejandro Murat, promised a thorough investigation.
Representative Perfecto Hernandez Gutierrze was also a victim of the attack against the new mayor. He was shot and pronounced dead early yesterday morning (January 2) at a local hospital.
A councilwoman named Cleotilde Santos and another politician were also shot, though their medical conditions are unknown.
Mexican news outlet Excelsior explains Aparicio Santiago is the sixth politician who has been assassinated during the last semester, which dates back to elections on July 1, 2018.
María Ascension Cruz Torres, a 55-year-old councilwoman, died after being shot three times on Sunday morning, just 48 hours before she was expected to be sworn into office.
Torres and Aparicio Santiago are the fourth and fifth politicians aligned with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Morena political party to have died since July 1, 2018.
Excelsior report Yeidckol Polevnsky, national leader of Morena, explained the 2017-2018 electoral process has been registered as the most violent in recent history, with 152 politicians killed.
President Lopez Obrador said:
It saddens me that these events have happened.
They are cowardly acts.
Tributes have been appearing on social media for the former mayor, with many demanding justice for his death.
One person wrote (translated):
Rest in peace Alejandro Aparicio Santiago Municipal President of Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, we demand justice and clarification of this unfortunate fact, it is not possible that they continue to assassinate people who oppose the outdated regime that still kicks to follow their corruption.
Descanse en paz Alejandro Aparicio Santiago Presidente Municipal de Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, Exigimos justicia y la aclaración de este lamentable hecho, no es posible que sigan asesinando a personas que se oponen al régimen caduco que aún patalea por seguir sus corruptelas. pic.twitter.com/vDvYs0kDis
— Soc. Fernando Flores 🎄 (@AvseFernando) January 1, 2019
I deeply regret the death of Mayor Alejandro Aparicio Santiago, who had just begun his administration as municipal president of Tlaxiaco. The Oaxacan Mixteca demands justice and security conditions. May he rest in peace.
Lamento profundamente la muerte del alcalde Alejandro Aparicio Santiago, quien acababa de iniciar su gestión como presidente municipal de Tlaxiaco. La Mixteca oaxaqueña reclama justicia y condiciones de seguridad. Que en paz descanse.
— Mariana Benítez (@marianabenitezt) January 2, 2019
An analysis by the Economist, as reported in the New York Post, revealed mayors in Mexico have often been targeted after cracking down on corruption and local crime, or because they sided with drug cartels and were pursued by their rivals.
In Oaxaca, where Aparicio Santiago was assassinated and gangs are weak, mayors have been known to be killed in disputes over land.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.