Wednesday 11 December 2019

Four police, 17 gang suspects die in clashes

A view of the bullet-riddled facade of the town hall of Villa Union. Photo: Reuters
A view of the bullet-riddled facade of the town hall of Villa Union. Photo: Reuters

David Millward

At least 21 people have died in gun battles between Mexican security forces and members of a suspected drug cartel near the Texas border.

Four police officers were killed and six injured in an hour-long firefight that erupted when an armed group invaded the town of Villa Union in a convoy of pickup trucks, storming local government offices on Saturday.

The clash also claimed the lives of 10 members of the cartel. Several other people were reported missing, including staff from the mayor's office.

Then, in a second operation, seven more suspected cartel members were shot dead by Mexican security forces.

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Miguel Angel Riquelme, the Coahuila state governor, said the authorities had acted "decisively" in repelling the gunmen who were members of the Cartel of the Northeast.

Rapid gunfire could be heard on graphic video footage of Saturday's battle, which was posted on social media. It also showed vehicles alight, people frantically telling their loved ones not to venture into the street and plumes of smoke rising over the town, which has a population of 3,000.

Mr Riquelme said the security forces would remain in place until calm was restored.

"These groups won't be allowed to enter state territory," he said. It is the latest in a series of clashes between the security forces and drug gangs.

There have been 29,414 murders in Mexico this year.

Telegraph.co.uk

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