Mexico vigilante groups back off fight with cartel

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Associated Press

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 11:34 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 6 at 2:03 AM

LA RUANA, Mexico (AP) — Two leaders of the main vigilante groups in western Michoacan state say they are pulling back from confronting the Knights Templar drug cartel because Mexico's government has promised to oust traffickers from the area.

The self-defense forces made a daring march late last month into the city of Apatzingan. That is the stronghold of the pseudo-religious cartel that for years has dominated Michoacan, a state that sends a steady stream of avocados and migrants to the United States.

The offensive set off clashes that left at least five men dead and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.

Hippolito Mora, leader of self-defense forces in the hamlet of La Ruana, says he's coordinating with other vigilante groups and they have decided to hold off on further moves toward Apatzingan.

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