Mexico president denies fostering vigilantes
23 January 2014, 18:18
Mexico City - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is denying that his government allowed the expansion of self-defence groups that emerged last year to fight drug traffickers in the western state of Michoacan.
Pena Nieto says his government has clearly stated that the only Mexican government is responsible for security there.
Pena Nieto made the comments on Wednesday to reporters travelling with him to Davos, Switzerland, where he will attend the World Economic Forum.
Government opponents say that since the vigilantes took up arms in Michoacan in February they have taken over territory controlled by the Knights Templar drug cartel with the tacit approval of and even security cover from the federal government.
In recent weeks, Pena Nieto sent thousands of federal forces to Michoacan following shootouts between vigilantes and the cartel.