Former Lima Mayor Given Security After Two Muggings

Villaran during farewell speechThe Ministry of Interior today assigned a personal security detail for Lima’s former mayor, Susana Villarán, following two muggings in the past two weeks.

Last night, Villaran was just leaving her office in a taxi that she had called for when a car intercepted the taxi and two men got out and quickly approached. One middle-aged man pointed a gun at the taxi driver and the other pointed at Villaran. They snatched her smartphone and IPad but were unsuccessful in trying to take her handbag — “I hung onto it for dear life,”Villaran said on her Facebook page. They also took the driver’s mobile phone and GPS receiver.

A third man was waiting in the idling car.

Barely two weeks ago, a similarly violent incident occurred when Villaran was visiting family in Lurin, just south of Lima.

“I’ve been asking the Ministry of Interior, by official requests, since mid-December for minimum protection, for reasons I’ve mentioned before,” Villaran said on her Facebook page. “Unfortunately, it has never been granted.”

The police security announced today will be provided for three months, according to the director of State Security, Col. Carlos Tuse.

Threatening phone calls and messages had increased against Villaran in her final weeks as mayor, leading her to request the protection. According to one report, it was suggested that she seek private security.

“I’ve received death threats in recent months for restoring order in the city, facing up to the transport mafias, up to Orion, and the former wholesale market of La Parada, fighting against the illegal storehouses in Barrios Altos, which everyone knows about.”

The incident yesterday occurred on Jiron Nazca, on a busy corner in Jesus Maria next to the Volleyball Federation, the district baseball diamond, and a municipal retirement home.  Villaran has requested the film from the security cameras in the neighborhood, but said she has verified that there is no coordination between the district’s central video surveillance office and the police station.

Villaran said that Jiron Nazca neighbors report that crime is high in the area, but that the police station and municipal security teams are slow to respond to emergency calls.   When Villaran filed her report to the police, their reaction was “Oh, just a cell phone”, she said on Facebook.

Facebook comments included the smirks about her inefficiency in reducing crime during Villaran’s administration but most believed the assaults were targeted specifically to her.

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