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Mexico bomb suspects let go?

September 22, 2008 | 10:24 am

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Reports started circulating in the Mexican media last night that the local police arrested on the scene, but then let go, three men suspected of being involved in the bombings in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan state last Monday.

Seven people were killed and more than a hundred injured in the center of the city when two grenades went off during the independence celebrations. An eighth person -- a 13-year-old boy -- died in hospital over the weekend.

According to reports in this morning's El Universal, Michoacan's head of public security Mario Bautista Ramirez confirmed that three men were arrested in the city center but then released "because there was no problem with them."

These were not the same three suspects that we reported arrested and released last week.

Both El Universal and Milenio are also reporting that 10 police officers who were ordered to attend the independence celebrations in the city -- dressed in plain clothes rather than uniform -- never turned up.

Bautista Ramirez said that those 10 officers are being investigated.

A telephone survey of 500 people in Mexico City by Milenio found that 67% of respondents are now afraid to go to public places because they fear that they could be the victims of a terrorist attack. More than eight of 10 respondents (83%) said that they think the wave of violence could continue -- that the two grenade explosions were not isolated events.

Those surveyed were undecided about the cause of the violence. Forty percent said that they don't think President Felipe Calderon's government, which has assigned 40,000 soldiers and more than 5,000 federal police to fight the country's powerful drug cartels, knows how to control the narcotraffickers.

On the other hand, 42% said that the increase of violence in Mexico is because Calderon's efforts are hitting the narcos where it hurts.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Image: Officials inspect the scene where a grenade was detonated in Morelia last week during the city's independence day celebrations. Credit: Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times

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