Gunfight in Mexico kills at least 39

Independent News and Media

AT least 39 people have been killed in a gun battle between government forces and armed civilians in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, according to a report from Reuters.

The region where the fire-fight occurred on Friday is near the border of Jalisco state, home to Mexico's second-largest city, Guadalajara, and is a region that has been plagued by gang violence in recent years.

Initial reports could not confirm that the drug cartels were involved in Friday's violence, but two government sources said that 37 civilians had been killed. One of the sources claimed that two police officers had died, while the other source said three officers were killed.

The sources - who wished to remain anonymous - claimed that a convoy of federal police and soldiers were ambushed in the border region, which is a known stronghold of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. The cartel has ramped up attacks on federal and state forces in recent weeks, Reuters reported.

Since March, the New Generation Cartel has killed more than two dozen police and soldiers, and has drawn the attention of embattled President Enrique Pena Nieto, who has struggled to corral drug violence in recent years.

Many in Mexico are still reeling from the suspected massacre of 43 students by a cartel-sponsored municipal police force last year. Despite gaining international attention, the disappearance has not been resolved.

In Michoacan state in January, police were accused of firing on 16 unarmed civilians. An investigation is on-going in that case.

Topics:  mexico

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