Revolutionary Armed Forces–People’s Liberation declares war on Mexico

Mexico will probe the alleged creation of a rebel group in the troubled southern state of Guerrero that is calling on people to take up arms against the government, the office of Mexico’s attorney general said Monday.

Hooded men carrying rifles and handguns went before reporters Sunday in an undisclosed location in Guerrero and announced the formation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces–People’s Liberation, Mexican media reported.

A statement issued by the group called President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government repressive, criticizing education reforms as well as a planned energy reform bill that the group said would surrender Mexico’s oil wealth to foreigners.

“There is no day like today to declare war,” said the supposed group’s leader, reading from a statement. The group also accused the government of killing environmental activists, student and rural leaders and other community activists and demanded the release of detained leaders of groups defending their communities against drug-related violence in Guerrero.

A spokesman for the Mexican attorney general’s office said a probe would be launched to confirm the group’s existence and to assess its size and reach.

Guerrero, home to the resort city of Acapulco, is one of Mexico’s poorest states and is plagued by drug violence. Small vigilante rebel groups have been active in the state for decades, as the police have failed to contain powerful drug cartels that murder and kidnap civilians.

The new group’s name is reminiscent of a small rebel cell known as the Popular Revolutionary Army, which emerged in 1996 and said it followed Marxist ideology. That group’s last known attack was in 2007 when it blew up several oil pipelines.

The new group’s declaration of war nearly coincides with the first anniversary of Peña Nieto’s presidency; he took office a year ago last Sunday.

Al Jazeera and Agence France-Presse