Monday, April 01, 2013

Drug war death tolls a guess without bodies

REYNOSA, Mexico — Heavy gunfire echoed along the main thoroughfare and across several neighborhoods in a firefight that lasted for hours, leaving perforated and burned vehicles scattered across the border city. Social media exploded with reports of dozens dead. Witnesses saw at least 12. But the hours of intense gun battles in Reynosa on March 10 gave way to an official body count the next day of a head-scratching two. The men who handle the city’s dead insist the real figure is upward of 35, likely even more than 50. Ask where those bodies are and they avert their eyes and shift in their seats. Cartel members, they say, are retrieving and burying their own casualties. “Physically, there are no bodies,” said Ramon Martinez, director of Funerales San Jose in Reynosa, who put the toll at between 40 and 50. “It’s very delicate.” If Reynosa is an example, even the government can’t count how many are dying from drug violence...more

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