Guerrillas kill 13 in raids on Mexican resorts

In Mexico's most dramatic uprising since the 1994 Zapatista rebellion, more than 140 heavily armed guerrillas launched bloody attacks in two popular tourist areas on Wednesday night and last night, killing 13 people and wounding 21.

The daring and apparently co-ordinated raids in Guerrero and Oaxaca states by a recently emerged group, the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), stunned Mexicans and hammered the peso and stock market, which fell 50 points.

The President, Ernesto Zedillo, due to give his annual state of the nation address on Sunday, had billed the group as a "pantomime" confined to the jungled hills of Guerrero and posing no threat to the government. The group had insisted it had cells throughout the country and was fighting for a new constitution and populist economic policies.

There were no reports of tourist casualties in the Pacific resort of Huatusco, where about 80 masked rebels attacked the main square, a naval base, a federal police station and a prosecutor's office early yesterday. Three soldiers, two policemen, two civilians and two rebels were killed, according to the Oaxaca state government.

The attack could be devastating for the resort, built up from virtually nothing over the last decade in the hope of competing with the tourist resorts of Acapulco and Cancun. Most of the tourist hotels are along the beach outside the town, but the raid is certain to cause concern among tour operators.

A few hours earlier, about 60 masked guerrillas in camouflage uniforms and firing AK-47 assault rifles had appeared in lorries in the Oaxaca town of Tlaxiaco and rained gunfire on the town hall. Police commander Juan Feliciano Arango said two of his men were killed and one was missing.

The rebels fled after a one-hour gun battle and after painting slogans on houses, saying: "Long Live the EPR. With the popular struggle, it will triumph."

"There was a massive gun battle," one eyewitness said. "Everyone ran, everything turned into panic. We hid in the safest part of the house. The town lived through an hour of sheer terror."

A third assault was in the state of Guerrero, where the EPR emerged in June. Rebels attacked the police station in the town of Tixtla and riddled municipal buildings with bullet holes. At least one policeman was killed and four were wounded.

The peso slid in January 1994 after the so-called Zapatista National Liberation Army (ELZN), led by Sub-comandante Marcos, a pipe-smoking guerrilla in a black balaclava, briefly took five towns in the south-eastern state of Chiapas. More than 100 people were killed in the first two weeks of 1994 but the rebels have since retreated to the jungle and are negotiating a peace deal with Mr Zedillo's government.

The EZLN has said it has nothing to do with the EPR but some leftists believe the groups have common roots in the urban guerrilla movement which followed student-government clashes in the late 1960s.

What shocked many Mexicans was that the EPR, which had previously emerged only at a public rally and in minor clashes, appeared to have coordinated three serious assaults many hundreds of miles apart. The group also appeared to have modern and effective weapons, as opposed to the Zapatistas, most of whom had rusty, decades-old rifles.

Some feared that the latest uprising was a desperate effort by the left to recoup prestige after several years of splits and confusion on the political front. With Mr Zedillo's mighty Institutiona Revolutionary Party (PRI) in power for nearly seven decades, the left had been its greatest challenge until crumbling in the early 1990s, when the strongly Catholic right-wing National Action Party (PAN) turned into the biggest threat to the tottering PRI.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Growing Law firm

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable law firm based in central London ...

Ashdown Group: Part time Network Support Analyst / Windows Systems Administrat

£30 per hour: Ashdown Group: An industry leading and well established business...

The Jenrick Group: Controls Engineer

Negotiable: The Jenrick Group: A Controls Engineer is urgently required for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Manager

£32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an an exciting opportunity to jo...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas