Saturday, 3 March 2012

Thirteen dead in Mexico shootout


Thirteen suspected gang members have been killed in a shootout with Mexican soldiers and police in the northern border city of Nuevo Laredo. Mexican media had reported since Thursday on a raging gun battle in Nuevo Laredo as well as the mounting of blockades in some areas. Military officials, for their part, told EFE that 13 suspected members of criminal gangs were killed in the shootout, adding that no lives were lost among the security forces. The Defence Secretariat later confirmed the death toll, saying three soldiers were wounded in the shootout. Thursday's shootout occurred on a road in Nuevo Laredo, where the troops came under attack while following up on a tip as part of their efforts to strike a blow to the "command structure" of organised crime groups in Tamaulipas state. Following the clashes, the armed forces seized 12 automatic rifles, a rocket launcher with projectile and a grenade launcher, a grenade, ammunition clips, ammunition and three vehicles. The bodies of the gunmen, their weapons and vehicle were turned over to the relevant authorities. The army is carrying out Operation Northeast in Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila and San Luis Potosi states in an effort to weaken the drug cartels that operate in the region. The Gulf drug cartel has been waging a war in northeastern Mexico against Los Zetas, a band of army special forces deserters turned hired guns and drug traffickers. The government said earlier this year that 12,903 people were killed in drug-related violence between January and September 2011 in Mexico, an increase of 11 per cent from the same period in the prior year. Mexico's drug war death toll stood at 47,515 from December 2006 to September 30, 2011. Unofficial tallies published by independent daily La Jornada put the death toll from Mexico's drug war at more than 50,000.


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