Discuss as:

Mexican vigilantes take up arms against street gangs

Pedro Pardo / AFP - Getty Images

A hooded armed man stands guard in downtown Tecoanapa, in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, on Jan. 24.

Pedro Pardo / AFP - Getty Images

Hooded men stand guard outside the Justice palace, in Ayutla de los Libres, in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, on Jan. 24.

Pedro Pardo / AFP - Getty Images

Armed men guard the Justice palace from a car, in Ayutla de los Libres, in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, on Jan. 24.

Pedro Pardo / AFP - Getty Images

A female guard watches over 27 people arrested by a residents' police force in Ayutla de los Libres in the Guerrero state of Mexico on Jan. 25.

Hundreds of men and women in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero have armed themselves with rifles, pistols and machetes to defend their villages against drug gangs that local police are unable or unwilling, to stop.

"There isn't one of us who hasn't felt the pain ... of seeing them take a family member and not being able to ever get them back," said the young civilian self-defense patrol member, who identified himself as "just another representative of the people of the mountain." Continue reading Associated Press article.

Guerrero, home to the Pacific resort town of Acapulco, has been one of Mexico's hardest hit states by drug violence, which has left more than 70,000 people killed across the country since 2006.

--Getty Images, Associated Press

Pedro Pardo / AFP - Getty Images

Some of the 27 people arrested by residents of Ayutla de los Libres, who have formed their own vigilante police force, are kept under custody inside a house in Ayutla de los Libres, on Jan. 25.