In Pictures: Mexico vigilantes battle cartels - Al Jazeera English

In Pictures: Mexico vigilantes battle cartels

Styling themselves as 'self-defence groups', militias in the state of Michoacan are battling powerful drug cartels.

Jerome Sessini |

In Mexico, a country home to powerful drug cartels, groups of armed vigilantes known as "fuerzas autodefensas", or self-defence groups, have formed in the past year. In recent weeks, they have even taken over communities in the state of Michoacan; in one case surrounding a city thought to be a key stronghold for the Knights Templar cartel and taking over nearby towns after violent street clashes.

In these newly occupied towns the citizen militia have disarmed and detained local police, claiming that both police and government forces are corrupt and in league with the cartels. 

Mexico's drug war has wreaked havoc on the country, bringing staggering levels of crime and violence. These civilians, armed with AK-47s, have been fighting back in what they see as a bid to liberate the country.

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