The Mexican state of Guerrero continues on edge after a couple of days filled with shootings and mounting tensions in the aftermath of the police killings of 6 people and the disappearance of 43 college students last month.
After a confrontation with kidnappers that left one officer dead, police in the state capital of Chilpancingo mistakenly shot and wounded a German university student on Sunday.
Although the student's name has not been released, his school, the Monterrey Institute of Technology in the north of the country, tweeted out that he is in stable condition and expected to recover.
The man was in a van with other students — two Germans, two French and six Mexicans — traveling back from Acapulco and passing through Chilpancingo.
Police tried to stop the van, believing it was suspicious. Police said they opened fire when they heard something that sounded like shot or detonation, said Victor León Maldonado of the Guerrero state prosecutor's office. The students kept driving, fearing that armed men might be trying to kidnap them, state prosecutor Iñaky Blanco said.
The student was shot in the buttocks. León Maldonado told reporters in a press conference that the officers shot at the bottom of the van, trying to hit the tires to make it stop. The police involved have been detained and their weapons are being tested, according to a statement from the state attorney general's office.
The 43 students disappeared from another Guerrero city, Iguala, about 120 miles south of Mexico City.
On Sept. 26, police in Iguala opened fire on teacher's college students, killing six and leaving 43 missing. They have not been found, though 26 officers from Iguala have been detained, and officials are attempting to determine if any of the students are in 10 newly discovered mass graves outside the city.
The bodies were so badly cut up and burned that authorities say it could take months for DNA testing to be complete.
The confrontation in Iguala shed light on a widespread problem with local police in Mexico: They are often linked to organized crime. In the case of Iguala, the police who attacked the students were working with the local cartel, Guerreros Unidos, according to testimony of those arrested.
Federal forces were called into the area in early October, and some city officials, like the police chief and the mayor, have become fugitives.
"Iguala is just one example of the level of decay in state and municipal security institutions," Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., told the Washington Post.
The problems in Guerrero have sparked nationwide protests over what is seen as corrupt state and local governments having allied themselves with a criminal gang in order to suppress civil disobedience.
The Mexican rights activist Sergio Aguayo characterized the situation to the Post as, "a political insurgency was repressed with violence by the part of the state that has become an enclave of organized crime."
Despite the dismay expressed at the crime by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, saying the student deaths were "outrageous, painful and unacceptable," many Mexicans see them as a failure of his security policy.
Aguayo added, "The massacre has shown just how fragile Mexico's democratic institutions are.”
A U.S. State Department travel warning issued last week said U.S. citizens should avoid Chilpancingo along with all parts of the state outside of the Pacific resorts of Acapulco, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo and the tourist attractions of Taxco and the Cacahuamilpa caves.
A previous warning in January already advised against travel in the northwestern part of the state near the border with Mexico state, where Iguala is located.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.