Rural Defense Corps (autodefensas) (Mexico)

Country: Mexico
Details of Formation: Faced with a growing presence of drug cartels in the state of Michoacán, vigilante groups formed to defend themselves. These self-defense groups were fighting the Knights Templar Drug cartel. In 2014, the government reached an agreement with the self-defense groups to incorporate them into the quasi-military rural defense corps; other vigilantes joined local police departments.
Details of Termination: --
Purpose: The main purpose of this PGM is to fight the drug cartels, esp. the Knights Templars in the state of Michoacán. The government aligned with the groups for various reasons: It feared losing control of these groups too, and therefore decided to offer them a legal framework (Wikipedia). It also relied on the knowledge of the self-defense groups, because they were able to point out members of the Knights Templars and had a better knowledge of the mountainous landscape.
Organisation: The Rural Defense Corps is regulated in the Organic Law of the Mexican Army and Air Force. It is part of the Secretariat of National Defence.
Weapons and Training: PGM members are armed with assault rifles which they either registered with the army or received from Mexican authorities. They receive training by the army.
Size: Vigilante groups allegedly have around 20,000 members. However, not all signed registered officially to join a government-sponsored scheme. In February 2014, around 600 vigilantes had signed up and by May 2014 3,300 vigilantes had signed up.
Reason for Membership: Members join voluntarily and are paid for their service. They had not been paid before the vigilante groups reached an agreement with the government.
Treatment of Civilians: The Rural Defense Corps wants to protect civilians.
Other Information: --
References: Wikipedia. “Rurales”.

Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD