Chilpancingo, Mexico – Ten suspected hired killers and a soldier died on Saturday in a shootout between the army and suspected members of organized crime in a town in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, police officials said.
The incident occurred in the town of Ajuchitlan del Progreso in Guerrero state while army soldiers were searching a home, according to the head of the police investigation squad, Valentin Diaz.
Preliminary reports said that when the soldiers and hired guns clashed in the downtown area, they were seen by hundreds of witnesses, who fled in terror from the shootout.
Ajuchitlan del Progreso is located in the Tierra Caliente region, where several recent murders have been attributed to organized crime, and it is not the first time that a clash of this kind has occurred in this area.
The region, mainly rural and mountainous, is being contested by several drug-trafficking factions for control of the territory.
Since the government’s so-called war on drugs began in 2006 at the same time that drug organizations have been fighting among themselves, there have been close to 17,000 deaths associated with drug violence nationwide.
Guerrero, which is also used by drug traffickers for growing illegal crops for making narcotics, has been one of the most affected areas in the country, even though most of the violence is in the north.
In the last few hours another 15 people have been slain in different incidents, six of them municipal cops riddled with bullets. Of the other nine bodies, four were found decapitated.
These 15 deaths took place in the municipality of Acapulco, one of the nation’s great tourist attractions, chiefly visited by Mexican tourists.
Mexicans taking advantage of the long weekend have poured into Acapulco this weekend, along with kids on spring break from the United States and Canada enjoying a few days of vacations characterized by non-stop partying.