Self-defense groups in Mexico declare war on drug cartel

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They are all tense whenever a car approaches their checkpoint. These men from the village of La Huerta rose up in arms just 3 days ago. Like thousands of other people in the state of Michoacan, they want to stop living under the constant threats of the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel. But they know the criminals can come back at any moment. Some of them hide their faces to avoid personal retaliation. Indeed, the criminals used to live in the villages, among the people they were threatening. Now, the Caballeros Templarios, or Knights Templar, have withdrawn to the mountains around. A young man from the civil armed group is taking us to a house where one of these criminals used to live. He discreetly ran away when the people started taking up arms against them in the region. Here is what is left of his luxurious mansion. Bearing arms is tolerated in Michoacan at the moment. After having tried to disarm these groups, the Mexican government finally accepted to let them defend themselves while the situation is still tense in the region. These self-defense groups are not nearly as well-equipped as the Caballeros Templarios cartel. But they know they greatly outnumber them. They hope that will be enough to dissuade the criminals from launching attacks on the villages.

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