“US government employees have been instructed to shelter in place until further notice,” consulate says
The department issued the guidance early on Saturday following widespread fires, roadblocks, and extensive law enforcement activity.
“The US Consulate General Tijuana is aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, and heavy police activity in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada, and Tecate,” the consulate in the city said in a “message for US citizens” on Facebook.
“US government employees have been instructed to shelter in place until further notice,” the statement said.
All of the cities mentioned in the statement are in the Mexican state of Baja California, where widespread gang violence exploded late on Friday and in the early hours of Saturday, Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero Ramirez said during a press conference.
“Today we are saying to the organized crime groups that are committing these crimes that Tijuana is going to remain open and take care of its citizens, and we also ask them to settle their debts with those who didn’t pay what they owe, not with families and hard-working citizens,” she said, according to The Hill.
The consulate told Americans to “avoid the area”, “seek secure shelter” if they’re in the area, “monitor local media for updates”, “be aware of your surroundings”, and “notify friends and family of your safety”.
The Vice Chair of San Diego County, California, Nora Vargas, tweeted shortly after the consulate issued its guidance: “I encourage our binational residents to be cautious and follow the recommendations from government officials and avoid unnecessary travel to allow authorities to do their work and maintain safety. My thoughts are with those impacted by the incidents.”
The violence began earlier this week in the Jalisco and Guanajuato states as a response to measures taken by the military against the leaders of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
Ciudad Juerez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, saw extensive violence on Thursday night when 11 people were killed.
Ms Ramirez said 2,000 police officers and 3,000 National Guard troops were on standby if needed, according to NBC San Diego.