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Latino Daily News

Thursday September 27, 2012

MEXICO: Clash Between Troops and Outlaws Results in 11 Deaths

MEXICO: Clash Between Troops and Outlaws Results in 11 Deaths

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Eleven people, one of them a soldier, died early Wednesday in a shootout between army troops and outlaws in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, authorities said.

The battle began at around 3:00 a.m. inside a chapel at the foot of Cerro del Jumil mountain, a municipal police officer in Tepecoacuilco told Efe.

The 10 civilians - nine men and a woman - who died in the clash belonged to an organized crime faction that was using the chapel as a hideout, the officer said.

“The army was watching them and pounced on them in the middle of the night,” the policeman said, explaining that several different criminal outfits operate in the area, including La Familia Michoacana and Los Pelones.

Also killed was a soldier from the army’s 27th Infantry Battalion, the Guerrero state Attorney General’s Office said.

Two people apparently being held captive by the suspects were wounded, the AG’s office said in a statement.

Soldiers seized 10 assault rifles and two handguns after the fight, along with two vehicles and 65 bags of marijuana.

Around 7,000 army troops, federal, state and local police have been mobilized since last October for Operation Safe Guerrero, an initiative aimed at curbing gangland violence in the Pacific coast state.

Guerrero is plagued by well-armed drug cartels engaged in a vicious battle to control smuggling routes and territories.

Besides pursuing their underworld vendettas, gunmen employed by the cartels engage in kidnapping, extortion and robbery.

Conflict among drug cartels and between criminals and the security forces have claimed some 60,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against the drug trade.