Clashes between two rivals in the southwestern state of Guerrero have left 18 people dead and two others wounded, including a mayor and former mayor, Mexican authorities said Thursday.
Mayor Conrado Mendoza, his father, former mayor Juan Mendoza, and other local officials were among those shot dead in San Miguel Totolapan on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Guerrero state government.
“It happened in the context of a dispute between criminal gangs,” said Deputy Security Minister Ricardo Mejia, adding that organized crime groups La Familia Michocana and Los Tequilaros appear to be involved.
Mejia, speaking at a news conference alongside President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said investigations were underway to find the culprits.
Investigators are also trying to examine a video that appears to show Los Tequileros claiming responsibility for the killings, he added. Both gangs are involved in drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping. Guerrero is a major heroin-producing state.
Mexican daily El Universal reported earlier that gunmen had carried out a series of coordinated attacks inside the building with the aim of killing the mayor.
Separately, in the central state of Morelos, state lawmaker Gabriela Marin was shot dead and her bodyguard wounded outside a pharmacy late Wednesday. Mejia said revenge or another political motive could not be ruled out.
López Obrador’s presidency has seen record levels of killings.
He was criticized by civil society for assigning increased responsibility for internal security to the armed forces, particularly by creating a National Guard with military personnel.
Originally intended to be a civilian agency — to replace the federal police — the president moved the National Guard under military control.
The move drew criticism from domestic opponents and the United Nations over the militarization of public security and sparked protests across the country.
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