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Blog del Narco: Shootout at Cemetery Leaves 7 Dead Including 7 Year Old Girl

Blog del Narco: Shootout at Cemetery Leaves 7 Dead Including 7 Year Old Girl

Photo: 7 Dead at Cemetery

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Seven people were killed and 17 others wounded in a shootout at a cemetery in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, state security spokesman Sergio Sisbeles said.

The shootout occurred at 4:20 p.m. Monday at the Panteon del Tiempo cemetery in San Pedro de las Colonias, a city located east of Torreon, Sisbeles told Efe.

Gunmen riding in three vehicles opened fire from outside the grounds on people attending the burial of Ricardo Valdes Bolivar, who was murdered on Saturday, the Coahuila state security spokesman said.

Valdes Bolivar’s associates returned fire, Sisbeles said.

The 27-year-old Valdes Bolivar was gunned down in Tacubaya and a message from a drug cartel was left with his body.

Paramedics, state police and army troops responded to the shooting, cordoning off the area and seizing several firearms.

Torreon is in the La Laguna region, which includes parts of Coahuila and neighboring Durango state.

The region is at the center of a brutal turf war between the Los Zetas and Sinaloa drug cartels, with the Zetas controlling Coahuila’s largest cities, including Saltillo, the state capital, Torreon and Piedras Negras.

The attack on mourners at the cemetery in Coahuila was not the first incident of this type to occur in Mexico.

Friends and relatives of a teenager murdered in Ciudad Juarez, a border city in Chihuahua state, had to run for their lives and take the casket with them on Feb. 15, 2011, when gunmen opened fire in a cemetery, wounding a municipal police officer.

More than 50,000 people, according to official figures, have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and declared war on the country’s powerful drug cartels.

Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The use of the armed forces to fight drug traffickers, however, has failed to stem the violence.

Mexico registered 27,199 murders in 2011, or 24 per 100,000 people, the highest number since Calderon took office, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or INEGI, said in a report released on Aug. 20.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which was founded by human rights activist and poet Javier Sicilia, puts the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at 70,000.

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco