José Bartolo was a Nahua Indigenous Councilor and was also the regional coordinator of the Community Police Committee for the centre of the state of Guerrero.
Bartolo and Modesto Verales Sebastían, both promoters of the Concejo Indígena y Popular de Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata (Cipog-EZ), were going back to their community after attending a meeting to plan mobilizations to push for political and social demands before state and federal authorities, when they were killed. Both leaders had participated in a prominent national protest on April 10.
According to the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), both leaders “were intercepted by armed groups who chased them and executed them in the city of Chilapa.” The Attorney’s Office confirmed that the bodies of both indigenous leaders were found in an abandoned vehicle without license plates.
According to a CNI statement, both José Bartolo and Modesto Verales Sebastián had been organizing a Community Police for years to face the violence, extortion and the imposition of poppy sowing by two criminal groups in the region (Los Ardillos y Los Rojos). CNI denounces that these two groups allegedly control the municipal presidencies in the region and count on the complicity of the Army as well as the state and municipal police corps.
The Attorney General’s Office of Guerrero is investigating the double homicide.