Mexico : 18 Dead after shootout between drug cartels
A shootout between suspected drug cartels left 18 people dead Friday in Mexico, a government official said. The gunfight happened in a remote area of Zacatecas state in the country’s north, said Rocio Aguilar, a spokeswoman for the state government. Drug-related violence has claimed more than 300,000 lives in Mexico since 2006, when the government started deploying federal troops to fight the cartels.
The state of Zacatecas, once dominated by the old Zetas cartel, has been the scene of many inter-cartel battles. The township of Valparaiso, where the shooting occurred, borders Jalisco State, a stronghold of a powerful cartel called Jalisco Nueva Generacion (Jalisco New Generation). Authorities said cartel members have been waging a violent campaign to dominate drug trafficking routes. Several other groups, like Sinaloa, Gulf and Northeast drug cartels are also involved in violent turf battles in the area.
On Wednesday, seven people were also shot to death in a neighbouring city in the state. On the same day, the bodies of two abducted police officers were found hanging from a bridge in the state capital.
Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, acknowledged Friday there were security problems in the region, but said his administration was making progress in the fight against crime.