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Video proves guards walked away during fire that killed 40 people in Mexico

A video, whose authenticity has already been confirmed by the Government of Mexico, shows the inaction of guards at the detention center where migrants burned mattresses on Monday, causing a fire that killed 40 people.

Mexican Interior Secretary Adán Augusto López confirmed the authenticity of the surveillance image to local journalist Joaquín López Doriga, according to the US news agency Associated Press.

In the image, two people dressed in the uniform of the guards can be seen running. At least one migrant appears on the other side of the metal bars. No attempt is made to free the men and, as clouds of smoke fill the space in seconds, the guards flee the scene.

Migrants who feared deportation set fire to mattresses at the detention center for illegal immigrants, located in northern Mexico, authorities announced Tuesday.

“It was a protest movement. We assume that they learned that they were going to be expelled, deported, and that, in protest, they placed mattresses at the reception door of the center and set them on fire”, explained the Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in a press conference.

Tensions between authorities and migrants have risen in recent weeks in Ciudad Juarez, where shelters are packed with people waiting for an opportunity to cross the border into the United States.

Leaders of more than 30 migrant shelters and other civil rights organizations published an open letter on March 9 complaining about the way illegal immigrants are being treated at the US-Mexico border.

However, the Mexican immigration agency said on Tuesday it rejects any responsibility for the tragedy.

In recent years, as Mexico has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants to the US border, under pressure from the US administration, the Mexican migration agency has sought to find solutions to the poor conditions in detention centers.

Last October, Venezuelan migrants rioted at an immigration center in Tijuana, in an episode that had to be controlled by police intervention and National Guard troops.

A month later, dozens of migrants rioted at Mexico’s largest detention center in the southern city of Tapachula, near the border with Guatemala.

However, in these two cases at the end of last year, there were no fatalities.

*With Lusa

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