Mexico – Copyright AFP Peter PARKS
Gunmen killed 10 people in an attack on a hotel and two bars in Mexico’s central city of Celaya, with calling cards claiming the massacre left behind by a known criminal group, authorities said Tuesday.
The attack late Monday claimed the lives of seven women and three men and left two people injured, according to the security secretariat in Celaya, in the central Guanajuato state.
Officials found the dead bodies upon arrival in the neighborhood of Valle Hermoso after reports of gunfire, the unit said in a statement.
Witnesses said the victims were shot, after which the attackers poured gasoline to set the establishments on fire.
They said the bodies were scattered among plastic tables and chairs, and one was lying on the sidewalk.
Guanajuato, a thriving industrial region that hosts a refinery and a major pipeline, has become one of Mexico’s most violent states due to a dispute between the Santa Rosa de Lima and Jalisco New Generation cartels.
The gangs fight for control of trafficking routes for drugs and stolen fuel.
Authorities did not say which crime group was suspected in the latest attack.
In March, the charred bodies of seven people were found abandoned in a pick-up truck in Celaya.
And in January, six members of a family were murdered in a rural community in Guanajuato state — the fifth such attack in the municipality of Silao in four months.
Since December 2006, when the government launched a controversial military anti-drug operation, Mexico has recorded more than 340,000 murders, according to official figures.
Authorities have blamed most of the killings on organized crime.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has championed a “hugs not bullets” strategy to tackle violent crime at its roots by fighting poverty and inequality with social programs, rather than with the army.