Mon, Jun 08, 2015 - Page 7 News List

Eight dead after Mexican militia internal fighting

AFP, XOLAPA, Mexico

Feuding members of a self-defense militia clashed in southern Mexico on Saturday, leaving at least eight people dead on the eve of midterm elections.

A journalist saw one body at the scene of the shoot-out — the group’s headquarters in the village of Xolapa, Guerrero state — and another seven lying in wake in the homes of relatives.

A state government official said the death toll could rise to 16.

The clash did not appear linked to yesterday’s congressional, gubernatorial and municipal elections.

The state government said in a statement that the shootout involved rival factions of the United Front for Security and Development in Guerrero State.

The prosecutor’s office is investigating how many people were killed or wounded, the statement said, adding that the group “presumably has a dispute over territory in the Acapulco-Chilpancingo corridor.”

Self-defense forces are legal in Guerrero’s indigenous communities, where they are allowed to apply their customs for law and order.

The shootout took place despite a special federal police and military deployment to protect the elections, especially in Guerrero and neighboring Oaxaca.

In both states, radical teachers have ransacked offices of political parties, burned ballots and clashed with police, vowing to block yesterday’s vote.

While protests are the main concern in Oaxaca, Guerrero is one of the country’s most violent states, with several drug gangs battling for territory and self-defense forces protecting their communities.

Last month, a mayoral candidate was murdered in the town of Chilapa de Alvarez, where two gangs have been fighting for control of drug routes.

A woman eyeing the mayor’s office in Ahuacuotzingo was killed in March.

Former Acapulco mayor Luis Walton, who is running for governor, said several armed men pointed their guns at his campaign convoy in April and barred him from entering Chilapa de Alvarez.

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