Mexico investigates troops over video of ‘execution’ of five men

Soldiers drag a person whom they pulled out from a pick-up truck after it crashed into a wall at high speed in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico May 18, 2023, in this screen grab obtained from a handout video. Diario El Pais/Handout via REUTERS

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican prosecutors are investigating what the country’s president on Wednesday called an “execution” after soldiers were filmed beating and then shooting five men they pulled from a crashed pick-up truck.

The investigation, confirmed by the defense ministry, follows the publication by media outlets on Tuesday of a video dated May 18 from the northern state of Tamaulipas that showed about a dozen troops surround a truck after it crashed into a wall at high speed.

The video shows the soldiers pull five occupants from the vehicle with kicks and punches before pushing them against a wall. One soldier is seen removing a long gun from the truck. The troops then appear to take cover and shoot into the distance at unseen targets, before shooting the men.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at a press conference on Wednesday that the killings appeared to have been an “execution”.

The defense ministry said prosecutors from the military justice division are investigating.

“There is no impunity in the conduct of military personnel, nor will any conduct contrary to the rule of law be allowed,” the ministry said in a statement late on Tuesday.

The ministry said the Attorney General’s office had a mandate to investigate, and that the defense ministry was cooperating.

The Attorney General’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment about whether it had started an investigation.

The incident took place in the city of Nuevo Laredo, the same place where rights groups say Mexican soldiers killed five men in February.

(Reporting by Isabel Woodford; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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