Soldiers deployed to outskirts of Mexico City

Up to 1,000 troops sent to patrol suburb of Mexican capital in response to escalating drug-related violence.

    Mexico has sent police and military reinforcements to patrol a suburb of Mexico City for the first time to combat a rise in drug-related violence that is beginning to encroach on the country's capital.

    A combined force of around 1,000 soldiers, federal police and local police took to the streets of Nezahualcoyotl from Wednesday this week.

    The city of 1.1 million people to Mexico City's east has suffered from a dispute between two rival drug cartels.

    President Felipe Calderon's fight against drug gangs has overshadowed his administration, and the deployment in Nezahualcoyotl brings the conflict into the home state of his successor Enrique Pena Nieto, who takes office in December.

    Calderon has already deployed 50,000 troops across the country to combat violent drug cartels.

    The local government's request for troops in the sprawling Nezahualcoyotl municipality follows the murder there this weekend of Jaime Serrano, a local state congressman and member of Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

    Rumours of clashes

    Rumours of clashes between gangs sowed panic in the suburb last week, causing businesses to close and people to stay off the streets.

    Authorities later denied that any violence had taken place.

    Gerardo,  a local resident, welcomed the presence of police reinforcements and soldiers in the region.

    "It was time that they did it. There is too much insecurity. We aren't safe in our own home or in our cars. It was fair to do this and now we will see if it really is a solution or will make it worse as we have seen in a large part of the country"

    - Geraldo, a Nezahualcoyotl resident

    "It was time that they did it," he said.

    "There is too much insecurity. We aren't safe in our own home or in our cars. It was fair to do this and now we will see if it really is a solution or will make it worse as we have seen in a large part of the country."

    Another resident said he hoped the added security measures would be enforced throughout the area.

    "More surveillance, surveillance in all streets because sometimes they are just in avenues and not in the streets," local resident Rafael said.

    Security experts say at the heart of the violence in Nezahualcoyotl is a fight for control of a growing market for narcotics and illegal goods between the Zetas and La Familia cartels.

    Mexico City and its immediate surroundings have been among the areas least affected by the bloody turf wars between drug gangs and their clashes with security forces, which have killed around 60,000 people over the past six years.

    Although the city is not on a major drug smuggling route, Nezahualcoyotl is worth millions of dollars to criminal organisations operating illegal markets. And many say it will be difficult for the military to root out the gangs. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months