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At least 14 dead in Mexico after police shootout with suspected cartel members

December 1, 2019

MEXICO CITY - Ten suspected cartel gunmen and four police were killed during a shootout on Saturday in a Mexican town near the U.S. border.


The government of the northern state of Coahuila said state police clashed at midday with a group of heavily armed gunmen riding in pickup trucks in the small town of Villa Union, about 40 miles southwest of the border city of Piedras Negras.


Standing outside the Villa Union mayor's bullet-ridden offices, Coahuila Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme told reporters the state had acted "decisively" to tackle the cartel henchmen. Four police were killed and six were injured, he said.


The attack comes days after President Trump said in an interview that he plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.


The fighting went on for more than an hour, during which ten gunmen were killed, three of them by security forces in pursuit of the gang members, Riquelme said.


At about noon, heavy gunfire began ringing out in Villa Union, and a convoy of armed pickup trucks could be seen moving around the town, according to video clips posted by social media users. Others showed plumes of smoke rising from the town.


Reuters could not vouch for the authenticity of the images.


An unspecified number of people were also missing, including some who were at the mayor's office, the governor said.


Riquelme said authorities had identified 14 vehicles involved in the attack and seized more than a dozen guns. The governor said he believed the gunmen were members of the Cartel of the Northeast, which is from Tamaulipas state to the east.


Coahuila state Gov. Miguel Angel Riquelme said four police officers were killed after an armed group stormed the town in a convoy of trucks and attacked local government offices. Riquelme said 10 alleged cartel members were killed when security forces responded, according to AP.


Mexico’s murder rate has increased by 2% in the first 10 months of Andrés Manuel López Obrador's presidency. Federal officials said there have been 29,414 homicides in 2019 so far, compared to 28,869 in the same period of 2018, per AP.



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