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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. I am a contributor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

FIGHTING ORGANISED CRIME

I am often surprised at the amount of companies, listed and/or private, that are haemorrhaging due to serious organised crime attacks. It seems that many companies prefer to keep quiet about the effects of crime, lest it negatively influence their shareholders. Some believe that it may reflect poorly on their abilities to manage if they admit their losses to crime. Others simply just refuse to acknowledge that they are victims of crime.

This is, I believe, in itself criminal as it is misleading shareholders and allowing the criminals to simply continue with their actions. In short, it amounts to a fraudulent representation of the company. In times of a global financial melt-down, it is imperative that crime is tackled in an aggressive manner.

In South Africa, those that are supposed to police crime are very seldom keen to do their duty. Many of them are, indeed, part of the problem and not part of the solution. Whereas there are police officers trying to make an impact on crime, they are few and far between. Sadly though, success is not something that is evident in these counter-crime actions. Public regard for crime scene investigators and detectives is reaching an all-time low. Their lack of interest in attending to crime scenes is well documented with excuses as feeble as “we don’t have a vehicle…” Visible policing is seen by many to simply be a reconnaissance operation by men in police uniforms before they strike.

The police’s lack of will to seriously fight organised crime has given rise to a proliferation of security companies, some good but many simply exploiting the lack of policing. These companies hire men off the streets, place them in uniform and suddenly they have a security company they can sell to unsuspecting businesses. Before long, these companies know every weakness of the client they are supposed to be protecting. Often these weaknesses are exploited by the security companies themselves.

In order to effectively fight organised crime, companies need to understand the fundamentals of crime and the criminal networks they are up against. Once the criminal workings are understood, the companies need to seize the initiative from the criminals and regain control over their profit margins.

Simply knowing that they are losing money to crime does not solve the crime problem. Installing cameras is not the only or best way to counter crime. Technology has its limitations and can be circumvented – especially when there are so-called power outages. Creating a mini-fortress with booms, guards and fences simply makes a company prisoner to its own working environment and advertises the fact that it has something valuable behind the fortress walls.

Visible security measures such as fences and access control systems are an important part of the overall strategy to combat organised crime. But it is not the only action a company should employ to protect its premises, assets and staff.

Fighting organised crime is an action that should be planned in detail and should encompass many varied levels of action. These plans should be pro-active in nature and make provision for a host of different crime scenarios.

As the global economic melt-down continues, crime will escalate. Loose groupings of criminals will become more structured and organised. Their methodology will become more aggressive and their actions bolder. As their profits soar, they will become better armed, equipped and wheeled. They will also exploit the very obvious lack of policing to a greater extent.

The majority of companies are quite content to simply be re-active. It appears as though the premise exists that although crime is hurting profit margins, companies are still able to survive. If they are able to survive despite the crime, why take positive aggressive action? Indeed, if it may have a financial implication, why do it at all?

The indications that kidnappings, extortion, sabotage and the like are being planned are already evident. Will companies have pre-warning? I doubt it. Will they be able to react quickly in the event of the kidnapping of a senior executive? Unlikely. Do they know who within their ranks is feeding information to criminals? No, they don’t. Do they usually know anything about the company providing their security? Have they made the security company liable for any burglary, theft or other losses they may suffer while under their watch? Are security companies given a time-line in which to perform adequately and resolve the crime issues within a company?

Whereas a security company may give a warm, fuzzy feeling to the company, they are often there simply because someone is paying their salaries – and often it is a poor salary that would welcome an additional income. Visible they are, effective - not always.

To successfully combat organised crime, companies need prior knowledge. With prior knowledge (intelligence) criminal actions can be predicted and pre-emptive actions taken. Gathering this information requires the ability to identify the criminal gangs and penetrate and infiltrate them with trained agents. Professional agents, subject to regular polygraph testing and other loyalty checks, will be able to position themselves in such a manner that they can gather the information required.

Armed with the criminal intelligence required, the companies will be able to coordinate their fight against the crime threatening their businesses. Additionally, it will allow the companies under threat to seize the initiative and play an active and offensive role in fighting crime.

This approach does, however, require short-, medium- and long-term planning, coupled to the professional training and management of the agents. There are some companies that have adopted a pre-emptive approach to fighting crime and they ought to be applauded. Their security executives think “outside the box”, are professional, dedicated and protect the company as though it were their own. They are quick to take bold, decisive action. They view every possible threat as a challenge and they have the support of their senior executives. Their success grows from strength to strength – and nothing breeds success like success.

Sadly though, a great many companies in South Africa and elsewhere are still in the “crime-denial” phase. While they remain in denial, the crime syndicates play the field, dictate the profit margins and grow stronger.

Crime at government-level and trans-national crime is a topic for another day…

My next posting will look at the recklessness of confusing “strategy” with “gadgetry”.

31 comments:

Tango said...

Nothing,but the truth-
"Many of them that are suppose to combat crime are part of the problem"
Crime can be beaten !
You article says it all.

They need a new commissioner of police......A proffesional soldier could lead!

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Indeed crime can be beaten, Tango. Our law-enforcement agencies have sadly deteriorated to such an extent that the title “law enforcement” has little to no significance.

With your background in the law enforcement world, have you ever thought of writing a paper on what can and should be done?

Rgds,

Eeben

Tango said...

There is a partner"Sonny the Journalist" Cox.
He is a writer with a lot of theory and practical experience in the field of law enforcement.
The most qualified to do the writing of a paper.
Let's see if i can get him to respond.
A real professional....this time professional has been spelt with two s's and not two f's
SS ......for sharpshooter.
Practical is more fun !

Thanks you for the response
Regards

Aethyr said...

Thank you for that valuable insight! Although I cannot contribute as much to the discussions as I want to regarding your Topics, I am always excited to read your blog.

But I reckon only big companies could afford the measures you are describing? Or am I mistaken? Didn't you carry this approach out effectively in the early days of EO - before the angolan campaign?

regards
David

Robby Noel said...

As usual I'm not to PC ...best way to stop crime ...allow citizens to carry...this video comes from Britain ....say no more!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTq2NEUlhDE&eurl=http://www.eaglesup.com/thursday.html

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you, Tango – somehow I thought “alter ego”? Sorry for getting it wrong. But please do ask him to do the paper. I am sure it will be well appreciated by us all.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

As you know, Robby, we cannot adopt a PC approach to fighting crime…although on the other hand there are those that advocate “criminal rights” as opposed to “victim rights” and who do view attempts to stopping organised crime as “unfair”.

Thank you for the link.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you for the compliment re the blog, David. It is much appreciated.

It is mainly the bigger companies that I am referring to as they are the main targets of serious organised crime. Yes, is it does cost money – and the bigger the threat from crime syndicates, the more money to penetrate and infiltrate the syndicates – but some of these companies are losing millions a year in crime-related actions.

Usually, it is not a matter of affording it but having the courage and determination to actually do something.
Yes, I assisted several major companies with this approach prior to EO’s entrance into Angola in 1993. The results were always astounding as the clients usually never realised just how high their losses really were.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby Noel said...

Many call me a doom and glomer but I see nothing but a serious rise in crime world wide as the global financial markets go from bad to worse,social unrest is breaking out all over from China to Iceland.

The US is about to get a major wake up call large US cities will exploded as the have "nots" justify the reasons for taking from the haves.

Everyday more and more adds appear on American TV that advertise the need for home security systems I suspect it won't be to long before American homes look like those fortress homes in Jo'Burg

I often joke with friends that Africas past is Americas future. When the wild aspirations of the Obama nation meet the reality that there is no free lunch watch out!

In the corporate world "trust" between the public and business is at historical lows nobody trusts anyone anymore this in turn creates a whole new level of crime as respect for law and order is replaced by the need to survive.

Can't offer any solutions this problem is to big politicians as usual will try and legislate "morality and respect" for law and order but this to will fail because they don't understand that respect is something that needs to be earned.

Sorry for being so glum!

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

No need to apologise for being glum, Robby. We all fall into that hole at some stage or another.
Down here in Africa, we have become so used to crime that locking ourselves into a fortress every night has become a way of life. Sadly though, the criminals roam free and that is a situation that is occurring across the globe.

My extreme concern is that no-one is willing to really take a tough stand against crime. As long as that attitude exists, we slide deeper down the slope and the criminals get more brazen. Even more alarming is the fact that big business is not doing what it can to beat crime – and crime can be beaten.

I look at the world and see that it is not only the so-called “have nots” that dabble in serious crime but even the “haves” – white collar crime is on the rise and as you point out, trust is no longer something one can rely on. After all, the current economical crisis was sparked not by traditional criminals but largely by white collar abuse.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby Noel said...

White collar crime in America is off the charts and one could argue that the world wide financial collapse has been caused by "men in suits" who figured out that they could steal more with a briefcase and pen than any "Willie Sutton" wannerbie

The big scam started with left-wing politicians wanting to get votes by accusing banks and mortgage companies of discriminating against the poor by tight lending standards...faced with charges been laid by the US Civil Rights division of the DOJ they adopted what we know as NINJA loans...no income,no job,no ambition

Wall Street in turn figured out how to bundle this toxic mortgages with with good ones and then get the likes of Standard and Poors to give these CDO's AAA credit ratings which were then sold by the trillions of dollars world wide,everything was fine while real estate prices were rising,Warren Buffert once said "you only know who is swimming naked when the tide goes out"....well the tide has gone out and the naked bodies are piling up everywhere.

If you can believe this I've been looking at getting a house at Jefferies Bay,SA proberly is a better bet than the US in the not to distant future ....you guys have dealt with the new worlds reality...I don't think your average American will be able to handle it.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Some fascinating comments you make, Robby. Obviously, I am not a financial specialist but it makes sense that white collar crime at times outstrips “normal” crime. I do, however, understand crime and how it is perpetrated and I know it can be stopped or the odds made so enormous that the criminals will rather go elsewhere and target someone “softer”.

One company I did some work for is very fortunate to have some men who will leave no stone unturned to solve the crime problems they believe exist. They treat the company they work for as their own and it was a pleasure to be associated with such men.
To them, crime was crime regardless of the collar-tag.

Rgds,

Eeben

Sonny Cox said...

Hi again EEBEN (sorry for dropping the one "E" in your name)

The following passage says it all...

At the moment we must use the ballot box.

Regards
Sonny

My Vision for a New South Africa

Yes We Can

While the ‘Against all Odd’s’ victory, of Barack Obama, over the Republicans in the USA, is still fresh in every South African’s mind, we can, as one great aspiring nation, defeat the ANC, in the forthcoming 2009 Elections.

The only secret is that we will have to stand together as one and run a campaign, second to none, against the failed oppressors of the poor, sick and needy in this Country.

We can fight and win against government corruption.
We can take back our Country from Organised Criminals.
We can stabilize our failing economy.
We can restore service delivery.
We can restore faith in the Judiciary.
We can restore faith in our police force.
We can stamp out nepotism in awarding tenders.
We can rid parliament of criminals and convicted felons.
We can restore faith in our failed health system.
We can stamp out poverty.
We will rid this Country of a “one party state!”

We need CHANGE in order to WIN!

We need to WIN in order to have CHANGE!

We must mobilize all South African, including the young, old and Ex-Pats to combine their votes against the ANC!

WE WILL WIN BACK SOUTH AFRICA FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL ITS PEOPLE, IRRESPECTIVE OF RACE, COLOUR AND CREED! WE WILL UPHOLD OUR CONSTITUTION.

WE ARE GOING TO CAST THE WINNING VOTES!
© 2009 WEC.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I agree that the ballot box can play a major role in helping us curb crime, Sonny. My only concern is what if the voters get more of the same? Also, even if there is a change of government, I cannot see our law-enforcement agencies acting quickly though. The private sector cannot rely on effective policing and therefore it needs to seize the initiative quickly, before crime escalates to a point where it is an almost unstoppable juggernaut.

Your summation/solution though is a good one, thank you.

Rgds,
Eeben

willywinky said...

A few quick questions and maybe possible solutions then with your extensive experience - please:

1. They say if you pay peanuts you hire monkeys. Hence they are easier to bribe. Is having in house and well paid security better than outsourced security?

2. Many house invasions have their electric fencing cut. Is there a better way around this problem? Maybe fencing that is near impossible to climb, spikes in the ground under the fence so they cannot dig under it? Hardened gravel at least 2 meters on either side of the fence?

3. In terms of legislation in South Africa. What is a security company allowed to own in terms of weapons? Can you own an armored car (APC), combat helicopter? What is the largest caliber weapon they are allowed to own?

4. Last question being a Hurricane Katrina event in South Africa. What would you recommend in terms of fortifications in such an event for an open farm?

Thanks mate!

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You have asked some things that I may not be best placed to answer willywinky. I shall pass on your questions to someone who I have great faith in as regards physical security and I believe that he will be able to give you very sound advice. In the meantime, I will respond as follows to your questions:

1. Peanuts and monkeys go hand-in-hand. I did work for a large company who had outsourced their security wrt intelligence collection. The outsourced company used me on a contract basis to assist them with certain operational preparation and training. The client was fortunate in that the company they were using acted as though they were the client and left no stone unturned to infiltrate and penetrate the organised crime syndicates that were targeting them. Whereas the sub-contracted company is expensive, the client’s success at protecting their assets has rocketed to the point that the profit-margins have dramatically increased, making the investment into the security company very worthwhile. In this instance, the outsourced company have proven their value several times over. But, it does differ from company to company and situation to situation. Companies that cut costs in terms of security usually end up the losers in countering crime.

2. I shall get someone to answer this question for you.

3. I shall get someone to answer this question to you.

4. I shall get someone to answer this question for you.

Rgds,

Eeben

Peet vdWalt said...

Firstly I want to thank Eeben for giving me the opportunity to try and answer your questions as best I can. I need to state that I am not a LEGAL Expert in this field and obviously my interpretation of the Governing Laws of SA might be wrong. I have been in the Private Security Industry in SA for close on 13 years now and have worked in many areas within the Industry.
That being said...let me try and answer your questions:
Q): willywinky said...
A few quick questions and maybe possible solutions then with your extensive experience - please:

1. They say if you pay peanuts you hire monkeys. Hence they are easier to bribe. Is having in house and well paid security better than outsourced security?
A): This is a catch 22 situation really. You can pay a guard a good salary but if the temptation, opportunity and lack of integrity is present the possibility of the guard getting involved in criminal activities are almost ensured. I use the word “integrity” because eventually it is for an individual to decide whether or not to get involved in unlawful practices or accepting bribes etc. Highly paid and highly ranked police officials have been accused of taking bribes...and they are well paid obviously. Various companies have switched from Outsourced Security to In-house Security just to realise that they sit with the exact same problems and even more so. The Security Industry in SA is highly regulated and the In-House Security needs to abide by those regulations. The net result is a Security Company within a Company with the added financial pressures of HR, Medical, Logistics and the normal Company overheads. By using In-House Security you really only assure one thing...and that is the employment of personnel that you THINK you can trust. The additional Overheads of In-House Security is just too much for most companies to bear. Even the largest mining companies in SA use Out-Sourced Security but with a twist. Their own Security Departments MANAGE the activities properly and therein lies the secret...MANAGE YOUR OUTSOURCED SECURITY, from “screening” the guards that are employed and deployed on your premises’ to actively having meetings with the Guarding Company’s Management on a regular (almost weekly) basis where concerns are raised and solutions to problems are formulated.

Q 2): Many house invasions have their electric fencing cut. Is there a better way around this problem? Maybe fencing that is near impossible to climb, spikes in the ground under the fence so they cannot dig under it? Hardened gravel at least 2 meters on either side of the fence?

A): This is a question that needs to be answered in a more technical manner. No SINGLE Security System is effective enough to deter criminals. An electric fence is a pro-active system and must give the owner an early warning of an attempt to gain entry to the premises illegally. In the same sense, the system must act as a deterrent and make it as difficult as possible for someone to enter the premises illegally. If the fence is CUT, as in your scenario, a properly installed and maintained electrified fence will send that Early Warning. Yes...there are ways and means to bypass an electrified fence, hence my statement that no single security system is effective enough to deter criminals. One always requires a combination of systems i.e. CCTV and an electric fence, CCTV and Access Control etc. An Electrified Fence Contractor that is worth his money will assess the scope of the installation and ensure that “anti-dig” foundations are installed. This always raises the question of BUDGETS because of the additional material and labour involved. For the normal household this is not an option because of the costs involved. Other methods of “additional” detection are available in “anti-climb detectors working of sensors connected via fibre optic or other communication cable to a control room but these are really only deployed within High Security Areas as an additional method of early detection and should the electrified fence fail for some or other reason. The norm when installing an anti-dig foundation is 500mm to 1m wide by 1m deep concrete slab – assisting also in keeping the electrified fence clear of undergrowth that might lead to short circuits etc. There are numerous other ways of adding additional protection to the electrified fence that is only hampered by BUDGETS.

Q 3): In terms of legislation in South Africa. What is a security company allowed to own in terms of weapons? Can you own an armoured car (APC), combat helicopter? What is the largest calibre weapon they are allowed to own?

A): Legally NO ONE IN SA may own an Automatic Fire Arm. That obviously excludes the Police and Military. A security company’s fire arms are governed by two Laws, the first being the Firearms Control Act and the second being the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) regulations. Firstly the company must apply for a licence for each and every firearm which is either granted or declined depending on legal parameters. The company will obviously not be granted a licence for a “Bazooka” – so any hand-held pistol or revolver can be used up to shotguns and in Cash In Transit (CIT) companies. Each Security Guard that is issued with a Fire Arm for use in work related matters MUST have a COMPETENCY CERTIFICATE, issued in terms of the Fire Control Act. Even if you as a security guard own a private registered firearm, you may not use that firearm in your duties as a security guard. Again, I am not giving myself out as an expert in the legal field but merely interpreting the laws. The Security Company also cannot buy any APC and use it as and when they feel like it. This is also regulated and special permission needs to be obtained for operating such vehicles. Suffice to say...combat helicopters are out of the question. An option is however the Taser Law Enforcement system.

Q4) Last question being a Hurricane Katrina event in South Africa. What would you recommend in terms of fortifications in such an event for an open farm?

A) I really cannot answer this one – never had the misfortune of having to content with hurricanes. In SA we are fortunate not to have to worry about tornados and earthquakes too much as those occur once in a while and then not even close to the ferocity of those in other parts of the world. I cannot recall that SA ever had a hurricane – the closest we get is a big storm at sea. Sorry about this one.

I hope the above answers your questions.
Best Regards
Peet vdWalt
www.companis.co.za

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Many thanks, Peet. I really appreciate your answer.

I hope this helps to answer your questions, Willywinky? Peet is a specialist in his area and the best person to answer you coherently.

Rgds,

Eeben

willywinky said...

To say that I am really impressed would be an understatement. Thanks Eben and Peet those answers I am certain will not only benefit me but others who come across the post.

I was considering buying a farm next year once the elections are over and life returns to what has become normal, however I always had the concern about safety and security. There are so many farm killings and on each report it is always that they dug under the fence or somehow got across.

Thanks for your time and excellent advice.


William

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You are most welcome, William. You have Peet’s web address and if ever you need to question anything on physical security, contact him. He is, as I said before, the man I turn to when I need to get a coherent and decent answer – or even help.

Rgds,

Eeben

klipgeit said...

I find the response units of major comp. a disaster-- 25 min on 4 occasions--.By that time I am shaking the Lord's hands.

Question: I live on a 2.5 hectare plot.The police states that any one illegally entering my plot is merely trespassing,entering my house is could be a reason reason to kill for self defense. I say any one entering my plot is assaulting my body and soul(My space).The plot is in my name and bears all the hallmarks of my signature.
If I show my fist to some one it could be treated as assault. Why must I be a softy on illegal entering my plot.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A lot of these security companies offer anything but security Klipgeit.

I am passing your question on to Peet (www.companis.co.za)who no doubt will give you some advice. As I have said before, when it comes to physical security, I know no better.

Rgds,

Eeben

Peet vdWalt said...

Hi again to all.
I will try and answer Klipgeit's statement and question of: "I find the response units of major comp. a disaster-- 25 min on 4 occasions--.By that time I am shaking the Lord's hands.
Question: I live on a 2.5 hectare plot.The police states that any one illegally entering my plot is merely trespassing,entering my house is could be a reason reason to kill for self defense. I say any one entering my plot is assaulting my body and soul(My space).The plot is in my name and bears all the hallmarks of my signature.
If I show my fist to someone it could be treated as assault. Why must I be a softy on illegal entering my plot."

ANSWER:
Firstly I share your frustration in regard to Armed Response. I subscribe to Chubb and I sit with the exact same issues. On one occasion the Metro Police responded quicker than they did...goes to show. Fortunately it was a false alarm activated by myself before I had my morning “wake-up-cup-of-coffee”.

On your question I again state that I do not see myself as a legal expert nor an advisor. I merely comment on your question. I again share your same views in this regard but unfortunately the Police are correct in terms of the law. If you possess a firearm you should have completed a competency “course” and obtained the certificate stating that you understand the firearm act etc. On that basis and the after the assessment of the SAPS, you would have been issued with a firearm licence. The firearm is issued to you on the following “conditions”:
“For self-defence, one firearm – either a handgun or a shotgun – is allowed (Two or more people living in the same household can be licenced to use these firearms)”... to mention one.
I specifically mention this because you need to look at the word and definition of Self-Defence.
I cannot discuss the legal terms and definitions here but do yourself a favour and go to:
http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/CrimeQ/No.8/duPlessis.htm
The title of the document is - WHEN CAN I FIRE? Use of lethal force to defend property – This was published by the Institute for Security Studies.
You will find your answer in the last paragraph of the above report – “The principle is simple: the life of the attacker can only be taken in order to protect your or someone else’s life or to prevent serious bodily harm. It is unlawful to use lethal force in any other circumstances. In other words, your property is not worth the life of the person that is stealing it from you!”
Sorry...but this is the truth under SA Law which you, I and others might disagree with but have to abide by. I also feel that if someone trespasses on my property they are only there to rob, rape or murder or all three of the above.
I hope the report will clarify your question although it might not be satisfactory....

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks very much, Peet. I am sure you have answered Klipgeit's concerns.

Rgds,

Eeben

robert said...

eden i have an organized crime figure who has set a plan to eliminate me, i live in ny , can you help me.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

If this is really a serious request Robert, I would recommend that you approach the NYPD. I do not operate in the USA and additionally, organised crime in the US falls within the ambit of the US law enforcement agencies.

Rgds,

Eeben

Tango said...

Armed confrontations

Shortly afterward, police and soldiers surrounded the area searching in vain for the perpetrators, and ambulances ferried the wounded, including four reportedly in serious condition, to local hospitals.

Chihuahua has long been the scene of gruesome trafficking-related violence and authorities say rehab centres are often targeted because of small-scale drug dealing or the presence of individuals seeking refuge from violence or rival gangs.

In September 2009, two similar attacks in nearby Ciudad Juarez left a total of 28 dead.

Police said the rehab centre targeted overnight may have housed members of the "Los Mexicles" gang linked to the Sinaloa cartel, which is warring with "Los Aztecos", affiliated with the Juarez cartel.

In Madero, a gang of gunmen killed scores of people in a series of armed confrontations and shootings in at least five different locations in the city.

So far, "20 bodies have been found in different parts of the city", a federal police officer said. The attacks reportedly began on Thursday, with confrontations between police and a group of gunmen moving around the city in vans.

Authorities then received reports on Friday that bodies had been discovered on a local beach and in other locations throughout the town.

Military clampdown

There was no immediate information linking the incident to drug violence, but Tamaulipas has been caught in the crosshairs of a bloody confrontation between the Gulf cartel and their former allies, Los Zetas, which was formed by former elite military personnel.

Along with the death toll, the region's violence is unique for the level of cruelty that continues to befall victims of the drug cartels, which have been terrorising residents and officials alike with beheadings, mutilation and depraved methods of torture all part of the daily record.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the violence in Chihuahua and expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.

"These are outrageous acts that reinforce the conviction of the need to use all out forces to fight criminal groups engaged in such acts of barbarism," Calderon said in a statement from Johannesburg, where he was attending the start of the Soccer World Cup.

Some 23 000 people have died in surging, drug-related violence following the launch of a military clampdown on organised crime, involving some 50 000 troops, at the end of 2006.

The conservative president has staked his term in office on tackling the drug cartels, deploying soldiers to the worst-affected parts of the country to do the job of often-corrupt police. The profitable trade in illegal drugs has allowed cartels to arm themselves with the latest and most deadly weapons available.

Those weapons often come from the US, and Calderon in May urged US lawmakers to strengthen gun laws, warning that over 90% of the guns used by drug traffickers in Mexico come from north of the border.

"Believe me, many of these guns are not going to honest American hands. Instead thousands are ending up in the hands of criminals," he said.

Calderon has scored some victories, including the arrest of top cartel leader Jose Antonio Medina, dubbed the "King of Heroin" and the death of Arturo Beltran Leyva, known as the "chief of chiefs".

But he also faces growing resentment from residents in the worst-affected parts of Mexico, who are angry at his failure to stop the violence and accuse the troops he has deployed of committing abuses.


- AFP

Regards
TANGO

NS: I hope we don't get to a situation like this in South Africa

Tango said...

This story reminded me of your postig....
"Fighting organised Crime "

Bloodbath in Mexico - 39 dead
2010-06-12

Related Links :
US arrests 2 000 in drug probe
16 gunned down in Mexican city
Bodies litter mine in Mexico
----------------------------

Ciudad Juarez - Gunmen brought terror to two towns in northern Mexico, killing at least 39 people, police said on Friday, as the country struggles to tackle the scourge of powerful and violent drug cartels.

In Chihuahua, the capital of northern Chihuahua state, more than 30 armed men stormed a drug rehabilitation centre overnight, killing 19 people and wounding four others.

Meanwhile, an unknown number of gunmen carried out a series of armed attacks and executions across the town of Madero, in the north eastern state of Tamaulipas, police said.

In Chihuahua, the gunmen arrived in six trucks around midnight on Thursday and stormed the second floor of the Templo Cristiano Fe y Vida (Christian Faith and Life Temple).

Firing large-calibre weapons at patients and employees, they killed 14 immediately and then fatally shot another five people before depositing a threatening message and fleeing. The raid lasted little more than 10 minutes, according to residents living next to the centre.
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Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the story, Tango. Yes, let's hope we don't walk the same road.

I trust you are still well?

Rgds,

Eeben

Adam Scott said...

Home Security System is something to not take lightly, especially given today’s faltering and unstable economy. Home security products and technology are very costly.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A very valid point, Adam. Unfortunately, these products have become a “must have” as opposed to a “nice to have”.

Given that criminals now operate in police uniforms and with police vehicles, one needs to ask if they are robbers dressed as cops or cops dressed as cops. I suspect that two are related and therefore we cannot allow ourselves to go without early warning. Sadly though, some security companies have exploited this to the hilt.

Rgds,

Eeben