Second migrant caravan storms into Mexico: ‘Violent’ group from Central America carrying BOMBS and guns defies a huge police presence to cross the border from Guatemala as Trump deploys 5,200 troops

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Source: The Daily Mail, October 29, 2018

  • The second caravan making their way up through Central America have members armed with explosives
  • Had gasoline bombs made of soft-drink bottles, and improvised PVC tubes to launch fireworks 
  • Mexican federal police briefly blocked the migrants from crossing the Suchiate River on Monday
  • But the migrants soon defied the law enforcement presence and broke through into Mexico  
  • Many tried to swim or wade across to Mexico, some while carrying children
  • Law enforcement avoided a second day of violence, a day after a confrontation left one migrant dead  

The second migrant caravan, believed to be armed with bombs and guns, crossed into Mexico on Monday despite a huge police presence.

Hundreds of migrants following in the footsteps of the first caravan heading to the U.S. border crossed a river from Guatemala.

A low-flying police helicopter hovered overhead as the migrants waded in large groups through the Suchiate River’s murky waters, apparently trying to use the downdraft from its rotors to discourage them.

Guatemala’s Noti7 channel reported that one man drowned and aired video of a man dragging a seemingly lifeless body from the river.

Once on the Mexican side the migrants were surrounded and escorted by black-uniformed officers as sirens wailed.

The second group back at the Guatemalan frontier has been more unruly than the first that crossed. Guatemala’s Interior Ministry said Guatemalan police officers were injured when the migrant group broke through border barriers on Guatemala’s side of the bridge.

Mexico authorities said migrants attacked its agents with rocks, glass bottles and fireworks when they broke through a gate on the Mexican end but were pushed back, and some allegedly carried guns and firebombs.

On Monday, Mexican Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida lamented what he called a second ‘violent attempt’ to storm the border, accusing people of placing the elderly, pregnant women and children at the front, putting them at risk of being crushed.

‘Fortunately, that did not happen,’ he said.

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The second migrant caravan, including members believed to be carrying bombs and guns, crossed into Mexico on Monday despite a huge police presence. Cops are seen allowing some of the migrants on the banks of the Suchiate River after the arduous crossing, but they were stopped from moving any furtherThe second migrant caravan, including members believed to be carrying bombs and guns, crossed into Mexico on Monday despite a huge police presence. Cops are seen allowing some of the migrants on the banks of the Suchiate River after the arduous crossing, but they were stopped from moving any further

The migrants were met by hundreds of federal officers in riot gear on the river bank. It followed a night of violence that left one Central American dead The migrants were met by hundreds of federal officers in riot gear on the river bank. It followed a night of violence that left one Central American dead

Central American migrants walk along the highway near of Ciudad Hidalgo after crossing to Mexico from Guatemala willing to reach the U.S.Central American migrants walk along the highway near of Ciudad Hidalgo after crossing to Mexico from Guatemala willing to reach the U.S.

The second group back at the Guatemalan frontier has been more unruly than the first that crossed. Guatemala's Interior Ministry said Guatemalan police officers were injured when the migrant group broke through border barriers on Guatemala's side of the bridgeThe second group back at the Guatemalan frontier has been more unruly than the first that crossed. Guatemala’s Interior Ministry said Guatemalan police officers were injured when the migrant group broke through border barriers on Guatemala’s side of the bridge

Hundreds of Central American migrants are seen on Monday attempted to wade through the brown waters of the Suchiate River from Guatemala to MexicoHundreds of Central American migrants are seen on Monday attempted to wade through the brown waters of the Suchiate River from Guatemala to Mexico

The caravan migrants are seen making their way through the river on Monday in Tecun Uman, Guatemala The caravan migrants are seen making their way through the river on Monday in Tecun Uman, Guatemala

A helicopter of the Mexican Police flies over members of the second migrant caravan, mostly Hondurans, as they cross the Suchiate RiverA helicopter of the Mexican Police flies over members of the second migrant caravan, mostly Hondurans, as they cross the Suchiate River

The standoff at the riverbank followed a more violent confrontation that occurred on the bridge over the river Sunday night, when migrants threw rocks and used sticks against Mexico police. One migrant died from a head wound during the clash, but the cause was unclear.

Hundreds of miles up the road in southern Mexico, the first caravan of some 4,000 migrants resumed its advance, still at least 1,000 miles or farther from their goal of reaching the United States as the Pentagon announced it would send 5,200 active-duty troops to ‘harden’ the U.S.-Mexico border. There are already more than 2,000 National Guard troops providing assistance at the border.

The caravan currently has about 4,000 people, but has been dwindling. Earlier this year, only about 200 from a caravan of some 1,000 migrants reached the Tijuana-San Diego frontier.

The Pentagon announcement comes as President Donald Trump has been focusing on the caravan to stir up his base a week before midterm elections. On Monday he tweeted: ‘This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!’

Dust clouds are created by a Mexican Federal Police helicopter flying close to the Suchiate River in order to create a downwash force to discourage the migrants bound for the US borderDust clouds are created by a Mexican Federal Police helicopter flying close to the Suchiate River in order to create a downwash force to discourage the migrants bound for the US border

A new group of Central American migrants bound for the US border, wade in mass across the Suchiate River that connects Guatemala and Mexico MondayA new group of Central American migrants bound for the US border, wade in mass across the Suchiate River that connects Guatemala and Mexico Monday

The first group of migrants was able to cross the river on rafts - an option now blocked by Mexican Navy river and shore patrolsThe first group of migrants was able to cross the river on rafts – an option now blocked by Mexican Navy river and shore patrols

Aerial view showing migrants reaching Mexico after crossing the Suchiate River from Tecun Uman in Guatemala to Ciudad Hidalgo in MexicoAerial view showing migrants reaching Mexico after crossing the Suchiate River from Tecun Uman in Guatemala to Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico

Young children made the perilous river crossing on the back of their older siblings and parents

Baby strollers are seen being carried by migrants above the surface of the water during their river crossing Monday Baby strollers are seen being carried by migrants above the surface of the water during their river crossing Monday

Some migrants packed their belongings in black garbage bags to protect them from the water Some migrants packed their belongings in black garbage bags to protect them from the water

Central American migrants form a human chain to help one another cross the Suchiate River, the natural border between Guatemala and Mexico

Central American migrants form a human chain to help one another cross the Suchiate River, the natural border between Guatemala and Mexico

Migrants  link hands for safety while crossing the Suchiate River from Tecun Uman to Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico, after a security fence on the international bridge was reinforced to prevent them from passing through

Migrants  link hands for safety while crossing the Suchiate River from Tecun Uman to Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico, after a security fence on the international bridge was reinforced to prevent them from passing through

A migrant in the second caravan clutches his bag pack in the middle of the river Monday 

A migrant in the second caravan clutches his bag pack in the middle of the river Monday

Earlier in the day, members of the caravan strung out along the highway outside the city of Tapanatepec, some waiting for rides while others plodded toward their goal for the day: Niltepec, about 34 road miles (54 kilometers) to the northwest. Federal Police patrols drove slowly alongside encouraging them to stay on the shoulder.

Victor Argueta, 54, of Santa Barbara, Honduras, said he and his wife had spent two nights sleeping on the international bridge between Tecun Uman, Guatemala, and Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, before eventually crossing the river on a raft.

‘We came with the goal of wanting to improve our future for ourselves and for our family. We did not come with the intention of finding death on the road,’ Argueta said, reflecting on the news of the Honduran man’s death the previous night. ‘Maybe that boy came with good intentions, perhaps with a young person’s idea of supporting his family.’

Sandra Rodriguez, 31, had heard about the incident because her husband’s family lives in Tecun Uman. The couple from Guatemala City had joined the caravan in the border town and never considered someone could die on the bridge.

‘I think they are risking much to cross to this side,’ Rodriguez said.

While catching rides from passing trucks was a largely impromptu affair in the first week of the caravan, it has now become more organized. On Monday, more than 100 migrants lined up at a gas station parking lot to wait for rides.

Mayor Ramiro Nolasco of the town of Zanatepec said locals had organized a bus and several trucks to carry migrants, mainly women and children.

‘We are helping our brothers from other countries with food, water, and transportation,’ Nolasco said. ‘It is going to be very little, compared to what they need.’

At a checkpoint near the town, some migrants gathered to ask for help returning home to Honduras, the origin of the great majority of those in the caravan. Exhausted from many days on the road, and disheartened by the many miles yet to go and misbehavior by some fellow travelers, people have been dropping out from the caravan, which at its peak was estimated at more than 7,000.

The generosity shown by small towns and residents when the migrants first began trekking through southern Mexico has also lessened. At the last stop, few people came out to offer food, clothes and other items, said Hasiel Isamar Hernandez, a 28-year-old Honduran mother of three who has been with the caravan since it started in her hometown of San Pedro Sula.

Migrants climb on the trailer of a truck as others wait in a line for a ride on the road that connects Tapanatepec with Niltepec, MexicoMigrants climb on the trailer of a truck as others wait in a line for a ride on the road that connects Tapanatepec with Niltepec, Mexico

Migrants walk next to Mexican police officers after they swam across the Suchiate River from Ciudad Tecun Uman in Guatemala to Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico

Hundreds of members of the second migrant caravan, mostly Hondurans, walk into Mexican territory after crossing the Suchiate River on foot

Henry Adalid, a 26-year-old Honduran migrant (pictured), was killed after being struck in the head with a rubber bullet during unrest Sunday on the Guatemala-Mexico borderHenry Adalid, a 26-year-old Honduran migrant (pictured), was killed after being struck in the head with a rubber bullet during unrest Sunday on the Guatemala-Mexico border

Mexico has denied that its forces were responsible for Adalid's death Mexico has denied that its forces were responsible for Adalid’s death

‘Of the friends that I have been with, all want to go back,’ Hernandez said, adding that many had blistered feet. For her, the last straw was when her husband told her that her 3-year-old daughter back home had stopped eating because she missed her mother.

Another Honduran, Teodozo Melendez, 31, was also waiting for a bus back home after fighting a fever for two days. His body ached.

‘I thought it would be easier,’ Melendez said, lying on the ground.

Melendez’s goal had been to join relatives living in Houston. His experience with the caravan had taught him one thing, he said: ‘The next time, I’m going to need a ‘coyote,” or smuggler.

Mexico said Sunday that temporary identity numbers had been issued to more than 300 migrants, which would allow them to stay and work in Mexico. Pregnant women, children and the elderly were among those who joined the program and were now being attended at shelters.

At least 1,895 have applied for refugee status in Mexico, and hundreds of others have accepted assisted returns to their country of origin.

Central American migrants try to force their way through a customs gate at the border bridge connecting Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, SundayCentral American migrants try to force their way through a customs gate at the border bridge connecting Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Sunday

Migrants wait in a slow-moving line to collect money transfers sent by relatives back home, as a caravan of Central Americans trying to reach the US border halts for a rest day in Tapanatepec, Oaxaca state, MexicoMigrants wait in a slow-moving line to collect money transfers sent by relatives back home, as a caravan of Central Americans trying to reach the US border halts for a rest day in Tapanatepec, Oaxaca state, Mexico

This map shows the progress of the migrants as of Sunday, when a new caravan also departed from San SalvadorThis map shows the progress of the migrants as of Sunday, when a new caravan also departed from San Salvador

Mexico's interior minister said federal police and immigration agents were attacked with rocks, glass bottles and fireworks. Pictured: A Honduran migrant is seen holding rocksMexico’s interior minister said federal police and immigration agents were attacked with rocks, glass bottles and fireworks. Pictured: A Honduran migrant is seen holding rocks

A Central American migrant of the second caravan to the United States is seen with a bandage on his headA man wounded during the confrontation between the Central American migrants and policeMigrants were left bloodied and bruised during the violent confrontation with Mexican federal police and immigration agents

Thousands of immigrants broke through the border fence between Guatemala and Mexico and crossed to Mexican territory SundayThousands of immigrants broke through the border fence between Guatemala and Mexico and crossed to Mexican territory Sunday

Mexican federal police arrive to provide security, following some complaints by irate local residents regarding some of the migrants in Tapanatepec, MexicoMexican federal police arrive to provide security, following some complaints by irate local residents regarding some of the migrants in Tapanatepec, Mexico

Migrants, part of  the first caravan of 7,000 from Central America en route to the United States, wait in line for food donations in San Pedro Tapanatepec, Mexico, Sunday