Chiapas: Crisis in Santa Martha, Chenalho; Shots, burnings and Displacement


Since September 29th, residents of the community of Santa Martha in the municipality of Chenalho have reported shooting, burning of houses and displacement, leaving four people dead. There are approximately 32 families (127 people) who have fled the place seeking refuge in the mountains of the Chiapas Highlands. From the mountains near the Santa Martha ejido you can see columns of smoke from the houses that have been burned, in addition “they opened holes in the roads so that nobody can enter or leave”, a community member said in a message.

According to residents of the community, at the beginning of this year a peace and disarmament agreement was signed, for which the people who decided to continue being part of the armed group that maintains hostility against their neighbors in the municipality of Aldama were expelled. On September 29th, the expelled people (approximately 60) returned and decided to take houses and land by force, which is how the violence has increased during these last six days.

The people who have managed to flee arrived at the town of Polho approximately 37 kilometers away, where its residents are also divided on whether or not they accept armed groups. “Afraid of also being attacked, some residents of Polho agreed to receive the displaced families that little by little are leaving Santa Martha; they asked for help from humanitarian organizations because they have no way to provide food and shelter to the 32 families who, until Monday afternoon, had managed to escape from the fire. There are 127 people, including girls and boys in arms, who at the moment are sheltered in a school”, Aristegui Noticias states.

For more information in Spanish:

Foco rojo en Santa Martha Chenalhó (Diario de Chiapas, 04 de octubre de 2022)

Grupo armado quema viviendas, desplaza a 32 familias y asesina opositores en Chenalhó, Chiapas (Aristegui Noticias, 04 de octubre de 2022)

Sin paz en Chenalhó (Canal 13, 04 de octubre de 2022)

Grupo armado de Chenalhó, Chiapas, sitia comunidad indígena; al menos 4 pobladores muertos (Aristegui Noticias, 30 de septiembre de 2022)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: CIDH realiza visita a comunidades atravesadas por la violencia en Aldama, Chalchihuitán y Chenalhó (14 de julio de 2022) 

Chiapas:Continúa la violencia en Aldama y Chenalhó. (12 de abril de 2021) 

Chiapas: sale a luz pública video en el que aparece un grupo armado en Chenalho tras nueva balacera entre Santa Martha y Aldama (23 de agosto de 2020)

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