Mexico drug gangs in deadly clash

Twenty-one dead as suspected rival gangs clash in Sonora state near US border.

    Officials did not say why the gunfight had broken out, but powerful and well-armed Mexican gangs often fight for control of smuggling routes into the United States.

    Prosecutor killed

    In a city on another part of the US border, armed men killed an assistant attorney general for Chihuahua state and one of her bodyguards.

    in depth

     

      Children caught in drug war
      Life in fear in drugs city
      Paramedics on the front lines
      Vigilantes 'on the rise' 
      Doubts cloud war on drugs
      US alert over Mexico killings

    After being reportedly chased by armed men through the darkened streets of
    Ciudad Juarez, the vehicle carrying Sandra Salas Garcia and two bodyguards was riddled with bullets on Wednesday night.

    Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the attorney-general's office, said the second bodyguard was seriously wounded.

    Al Jazeera's Mariana Sanchez, reporting from Mexico City, said Salas was working for a special investigations unit which dealt with issues related to drugs in that state. 

    "We are seeing more and more officials getting attacked by the drug cartels. It is a way of sending a message that they don't want to be challenged."

    Poll connection

    Mexican authorities are on high alert since the assassination of Rodolpho Torre, a leading candidate for governor in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, on Monday.

    Felipe Calderon, the Mexican president, said the ambush was carried out by drug cartels looking to sway the vote which takes place in 12 states on Sunday.

    On Thursday, unidentified men left a severed head outside the house of Hector
    Murgia, the favourite for mayor of Ciudad Juarez, who is running for Mexico's main opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party [PRI].

    Across the country, hundreds have been killed as the drug war increases in intensity.

    At least 23,000 people, mainly traffickers and police, have been killed in drug-related violence since Calderon launched an army-led offensive against drug gangs after taking office in December 2006.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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