Todays events just go to show how volatile the situation in Mexico really is. You never know from one day to the next whether it will be calm or filled with violence. I was at the prison in Reynosa yesterday and all seemed calm, but today, the very same areas where I travelled erupted with gunfights between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas.
The fighting erupted in broad daylight today in Reynosa (a Mexican city across the US border from McAllen). Several vehicles, including a school bus, were set on fire.
There were no immediate reports of casualties from the clashes in the city. Reynosa is a city of 610,000 located across from the Texas town of McAllen, and today the US consulate warned Americans to keep off the Reynosa streets.
Mexican authorities suspect the gun battles, which began in the early afternoon, are related to a power struggle within the Gulf cartel, an official in the Tamaulipas state prosecutors office told AFP.
“We don’t know if there are victims because we can’t reach the locations (of shootings) for the moment,” the official said.
Gunmen blocked streets with vehicles, setting several ablaze, including a school bus, the official said. The tactic is used to prevent rival factions or government forces reaching the area.
The local daily El Mañana reported that US authorities temporarily closed two border crossings.
The US consulate in the city of Matamoros, which oversees consular affairs in Reynosa, issued a message saying it “has learned of several firefights and roadblocks throughout the city” and urged Americans to “use extreme caution and to remain in-doors.”
Reynosa residents posted pictures on Twitter of burning vehicles and people lying on the ground in panic.
The government has dealt blows to the Gulf cartel in recent years with the arrest of several leaders. Authorities have blamed a surge of violence in Tamaulipas this year on the gang’s infighting.
The gang has also battled its former allies, the Zetas cartel, for control of drug trafficking in Tamaulipas. Please remember your missionaries that are serving in this field.