A few days ago, I started seeing Spanish-language media reports about a group of Mexican hitmen killing...other hitmen. Here are a couple of translated excerpts from these reports:
"Inside an abandoned truck in a residential neighborhood in Cancun, Quintana Roo State, were found the bodies of three men, handcuffed and with plastic bags on their heads. Together with the remains was a note with the message: 'We are the new group Mata Zetas and we are against kidnapping and extortion, and we will fight them in all states for a cleaner Mexico.'" Link to El Universal Article
"A video on YouTube confirms the existence of a group of hitmen dedicated to the capture and killing of members of organized crime groups. The group calls itself 'Mata Zetas' and previously denounced a series of crimes by leaders and members of Los Zetas." Link to Terra.com.mx Article
Analysis: Normally I'm the one providing you, the reader, with some answers and explanations, but the phenomenon of 'Mata Zetas' and other vigilante groups in Mexico is still pretty new to me. I recently sent out an email to colleagues asking if they had information about an anti-Kidnapping vigilante group in Coahuila being reported by the Saltillo Vanguardia, but that group seems to be an unknown as well. Unfortunately, I have more questions than answers about the "Mata Zetas," namely, who created them, who leads them, and who funds them? I'm personally not a huge fan of vigilantism (although I am a huge fan of Jack Bauer), especially when the corpses start piling up. It's very possible, and even likely, that the "Mata Zetas" don't have the best interests of a "cleaner Mexico" at heart, and are just a front for one of Los Zetas' competitors - likely La Familia Michoacana or the Sinaloa Federation.
A theory that's a little more out there, yet concerning nonetheless, is that the "Mata Zetas" are being honest about their intentions, and could possibly be unofficially sanctioned by the Mexican government. I don't consider myself to be a conspiracy theorist, but I'm thinking of this possibility because we've seen something similar occur in Colombia - although the parties involved are a little different. In the 1980s, Pablo Escobar created his own private army of enforcers because he was getting tired of his crew members getting killed and operationg being disrupted by the Marxist FARC guerrillas. These paramilitaries eventually grew and morphed into the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which was designated as a terrorist organization by the US in 2001. Anyway, the AUC was made up of a LOT of former Colombian army soldiers, and dozens of Colombian congressment are jailed and awaiting trial for providing support to the AUC. Many Colombians don't blame them; the AUC had the same mission as the Colombian army and the government - to get rid of FARC and National Liberation Army (ELN) terrorists. Could the "Mata Zetas" be or become to the DTOs like the AUC was in Colombia to the FARC and ELN? I'm curious to see where their notes - and deeds - pop up next.