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Mexico investigating migrant fire deaths as ‘homicide’

Eight people are being investigated for possible misconduct after a fire at a migrant facility in Mexico left 39 people dead.
Prosecutors in Mexico have announced a homicide probe into the deaths of 39 migrants in a blaze at a detention center.
Eight people have been identified as allegedly responsible for the deaths that occurred late on Monday in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez,  Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez told journalists at a briefing on Wednesday.
The people include two federal agents, a state migration officer and five members of a private security firm, she said.


An investigation was opened “for the crime of homicide and damage to property,” though other possible crimes would also be considered, said Sara Irene Herrerias, head of the human rights unit at Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office.
“None of the public servants or the private security personnel took any action to open the door for the migrants who were inside,” Herrerias added.
Authorities have come under increased scrutiny after a video surveillance footage posted to social media appeared to show guards leaving as fire surrounded a cell with migrants locked inside.
The video showed men kicking on the bars of a locked door as their cell filled with smoke while three people in uniforms can be seen walking past without trying to open the door.
Officials had said on Tuesday that a fire broke out overnight in the facility that holds people who have been detained while passing through the country in hopes of making it to the United States.
Many of the people at the detention center at the time of the blaze were from Venezuela and Guatemala.
All the victims were male and pressure has mounted on the Mexican government to determine why they died after authorities said the female migrants were safely evacuated from the center.
“Who didn’t let these people out? Clearly there is a serious crime,” Rodriguez said, adding the video was part of the investigation. “They weren’t capable of opening a gate.”
The security minister also added that the emergency protocols at the facility would be looked at and an examination of whether the private security company would take place.
“It looks like these guards didn’t have any training,” she said.
Meanwhile, Herrerias said that the prosecutors have requested several arrest warrants.
( Source DW)


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