Migrants Kill 2 Bandits After Being Attacked While Trying To Cross Border Near El Centro
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Aired 2/28/14 on KPBS News.
At least two gunmen were killed and a migrant was shot in the face after attacks on groups of undocumented immigrants attempting to cross into the U.S. in a remote area west of El Centro.
Attacks on migrants attempting to cross into the U.S. west of Calexico have left at least two people dead and one seriously injured.
In two separate incidents, groups of migrants were assaulted by men carrying high-powered rifles, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.
In the first incident, on Feb. 16, a group of five undocumented immigrants were robbed at gunpoint in a mountainous area of Mexico near Ocotillo. Soon after being robbed, the migrants were ambushed by a second group of bandits and a gunfight erupted between the two groups, according to Border Patrol spokesman Fabian Morales.
The migrants fled into the U.S. where they were arrested by Border Patrol agents.
The following day, gunmen attacked and robbed a group of eight migrants attempting to enter the U.S. in the same area. The migrants allegedly were held hostage for several hours before overpowering the gunmen.
During the struggle, one migrant was shot in the face. Two other migrants reportedly wrestled the rifles away from the gunmen and then shot two of the bandits, Morales said. The migrants then fled into the U.S. and called 911. The injured man was airlifted to a hospital in Palm Springs. He has since been released, according to Morales.
Stories of migrants being kidnapped or robbed in remote border areas between San Diego and the Imperial Valley are fairly common. Morales said he could recall five such incidents since October in the El Centro sector, which covers the Imperial Valley.
He said the number of reported assaults has remained steady, but this was the first incident he could recall where people died.
U.S. and Mexican authorities recovered two bodies along with an AK-47 and another weapon in the area.
“Border violence is of great concern to the governments of Mexico and the United States and we will continue to cooperate and collaborate with our partners in an effort to establish a safe and secure border,” Carla Provost, chief patrol agent of the El Centro Sector, said in a news release.