Unrest flares again in Mexico's restive Michoacan state

MEXICO CITY, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Local police and vigilantes clashed over street blockades in a troubled western Mexican state on Sunday, a sign of renewed unrest in an area President Enrique Pena Nieto's government said it had pacified.

The federal government's security commissioner for Michoacan state, Alfredo Castillo, said on his Twitter account that a half dozen blockades had been removed following dialogue with the groups behind the unrest.

The groups criticized the government for failing to apprehend Servando "La Tuta" Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar drug cartel which for years has ravaged Michoacan, despite nearly a year of federal police and military intervention.

While there were no reports of injuries or major damage on Sunday, the disturbances in Michoacan follow rising discontent about the security situation in Mexico, where the abduction and apparent murder of more than 40 trainee teachers has sparked mass protests.

At the start of 2014, the government sent reinforcements into Michoacan to wrest control of the state from a powerful drug gang, and later forged an uneasy alliance with vigilante groups to restore order.

But one of the major vigilante groups later on Sunday posted on its Facebook page that it has decided to take up arms again, blaming Castillo for taking sides in gang turf battles. (Reporting by Anahi Rama and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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