MEXICO: Five people have been arrested over a fire at a Mexican immigration detention center near the US border that left 39 migrants dead and 27 injured, authorities said Thursday.
The announcement came a day after the attorney general's office announced a homicide investigation into the disaster, accusing the people in charge of the facility doing nothing to evacuate the migrants.
Five arrest warrants have already been executed, Sara Irene Herrerias, a prosecutor specializing in human rights, told a news conference.
They “have already been placed at the disposal of the judge,“ she added.
A total of six warrants were issued against three immigration officials, two private security guards and a migrant accused of starting the fire, she said, without specifying which of them were arrested.
The deceased were 18 Guatemalans, seven Salvadorans, seven Venezuelans, six Hondurans and one Colombian, Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez said at the same news conference.
The injured were 10 Guatemalans, eight Hondurans, five Salvadorans and five Venezuelans, she said.
Of them, only one has so far been discharged.
Authorities faced questions about their handling of the disaster after video surveillance footage appeared to show guards leaving as flames engulfed a cell with migrants locked inside.
A total of eight people had been identified as allegedly responsible for the failure, Rodriguez said Wednesday.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed there would be “no impunity” over the tragedy that began late Monday in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.
According to the government, the migrants are believed to have started the fire themselves in a protest against deportations.
Officials are evaluating assistance for the families of the victims, while starting the process of revoking the contract and imposing a fine on the company in charge of the security at the compound, Rodriguez said.
About 200,000 people try to cross the border from Mexico into the United States each month, most of them fleeing poverty and violence in Central and South America.
US President Joe Biden's administration has been hoping to stem the record tide of migrants and asylum seekers undertaking often dangerous journeys organized by smugglers to get to the United States. - AFP