In brief: Mexican navy arrests alleged Zeta leader
Mexico City – An alleged local commander of the Zetas paramilitary cartel in the troubled border state of Coahuila has been captured, the Mexican navy announced Thursday, expressing hope that he might lead authorities to the notorious group’s remaining top leader.
Said Omar Juarez was taken into custody on a prominent street in Saltillo, Coahuila’s capital, the navy said in a statement released as the suspect was presented to reporters in Mexico City. In his possession were weapons and packages containing what may be cocaine and marijuana, the statement said.
Juarez was described by the navy as the Zeta operative in charge of Saltillo who “presumably” has direct ties to Miguel Angel Trevino, the Zetas’ top leader. Trevino emerged as the undisputed Zetas capo after Heriberto Lazcano was killed in a shootout with navy special forces last month.
Coahuila, which borders Texas and is Mexico’s third-largest state, has recently been the subject of increased scrutiny after a series of high-profile events that revealed the extent to which the Zetas had grown to dominate the region.
At least twenty killed in Afghan violence
Kabul, Afghanistan – Bombings killed at least 20 people around Afghanistan on Thursday as insurgents targeted Afghan security forces but left a number of civilians dead.
The deadliest incident was in southern Helmand province when a van struck a roadside bomb, killing 10 people, including five women and a child, said Helmand government spokesman Abdul Zeki.
Two teenage boys died when a bomb exploded in Zabul province as police tried to defuse it, said police spokesman Assadullah Shirza. Three police officers were wounded in the blast, he added. The boys had been scavenging for items in a trash pile when the explosion occurred, Shirza added.
The bombing elicited a strong condemnation from the NATO-led military coalition in Afghanistan. “These attacks are the most recent examples of how insurgents intentionally target, kill and injure those who want a brighter future for Afghanistan,” said Gen. John R. Allen, the force’s commander.
The United Nations has pleaded with insurgents to stop using roadside bombs because of the pain it inflicts upon Afghanistan’s civilian population.