SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, MEXICO -- Indigenous authorities of the Mexican community of El Carmen Arcotete in the southeastern state of Chiapas reported that police fired on a group of immigrants and killed three of them, official sources announced.
The commissioner of El Carmen Arcotete, Juan Perez Vicente, said Friday that a patrol car of the Chiapas state police force chased a truck carrying 30 immigrants while officers shot at it. The truck driver took off down a country road leading to the community and crashed into a tree.
Perez Vicente said that in the police chase three undocumented aliens died, eight people were injured and 13 were detained.
The nationality of the victims is unknown, but among the injured were four Ecuadorians, one Salvadoran, a Chinese man and woman and a Guatemalan woman.
Among the detainees is a Honduran woman, six Ecuadorians, five Guatemalans and a Salvadoran.
"A woman was tying up her sheep at the side of the road and she said they almost killed her as well, they were shooting for about 20 minutes, she heard the shots," the commissioner said.
"There were about 15 people, the police had them surrounded and took them away, they were crying when they went and said the police could be taking them away to kill them...I told them not to worry, they were only going to be sent back home," Perez Vicente said.
One of the wounded, the Salvadoran Jose de Jesus Mejia, said the shooting started when the truck driver refused to stop for the police patrol and "the faster he drove the more shots they fired."
The 26-year-old man said that in the group were some 30 people, of which eight were women, who left Guatemala Friday on their way to the United States, and that he had already paid $3,000 of the $6,000 the trip would cost.
At his side, the Guatemalan Miriam Estela Corado, with bullet wounds in one arm and both legs, said that all the wounded were riding in the back of the truck.
She said she was a widow with two children and that she paid $5,800 to look for work in the United States "because in Guatemala it's hard."
Meanwhile the Chiapas government said in a communique that it is investigating the attack in which the three foreigners died and added that forensic tests are being carried out to determine what really happened, in view of the fact that the police car "was also hit by several bullets."
Chiapas is the inescapable point of entry for thousands of immigrants entering Mexico across the southern border, most of them with the intention of crossing the country and getting into the United States.
It is estimated that every year 300,000 immigrants cross the Mexican border from Central America, many with the help of people traffickers.