Despite his level best effort to divert the focus away from insecurity in Mexico since taking office in December 2012, President Enrique Peña Nieto was compelled to take urgent action this week when the conflict-torn south-western state of Michoacán was thrust into the global media spot- light. The interior minister, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, announced that federal forces would take charge of security in the inflamed area of Tierra Caliente in Michoacán after meeting Governor Fausto Vallejo in the state capital, Morelia, on 13 January. The catalyst for the deployment of hundreds of soldiers and 2,000 members of the federal police (PF) was the imminent risk of a blood bath in Apatzingán, a city of 90,000. ‘Self-defence groups’ had taken control of much of the surrounding area in the previous week, and announced that they would drive the drug trafficking organisa- tion (DTO) Los Caballeros Templarios (LCT) out of the city.

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