Video Credit: CEN
This is the moment a group of young children in a neighbourhood ravaged by gang violence and brutal murders pretend to be hitmen as they play in the street with toy guns.
The incident took place in the colony of Morelos, known as the neighbourhood of Tepito, in the municipality of Cuauhtemoc, one of the most dangerous and violent areas of Mexico City, the Mexican capital, where murder rates have nearly tripled in the last three years.
In the video, the youngsters can be seen firing toy guns complete with sound effects down the street at each other.
Pictures Credit: CEN
The kids take cover behind trees and metal hoardings as they continue their pretend shootout, with local media suggesting they were pretending to be ‘sicarios’ (hitmen).
The Tepito neighbourhood where the images were taken is reportedly one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in the Mexican capital, with murder rates increasing from 1.5 murders a month in 2016 to 3.5 in 2008.
Local human rights activist Mayra Valenzuela told reporters that between 6 and 90 children in the neighbourhood were left as orphans from the violence in the neighbourhood in 2018 but she bemoaned a lack of a legal register to record the exact data.
Of the 27 murders recorded in the area in the first eight months of 218, six were reportedly “extremely violent” and involved dismembering. Most of the murders were linked with the war between the criminal gangs ‘La Union de El Betito’ and ‘Fuerza Anti Union’.
Netizens were shocked by the video, ‘Peter Rodriguez’ commented: “Those areas are a net for rats, no wonder there are criminals teaching their kids their job. If the authorities want to do something, they should investigate and capture the rats living there.”
Local media reported the youngsters in the area often look up to the gang members who flaunt their luxury lifestyles, with children seeing the gang lifestyle as a way out of the poverty they live in.
Official data shows that murders in Mexico rose by 22 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, with 33,341 murder investigators being opened in 2018, according to the country’s Interior Ministry.
The government of Mexico City has implemented programs such as ‘Si al Desarme, Si a La Paz’ (Yes to Disarming, Yes to Peace) in which the war among children.
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