A spate of armed attacks across several states left close to 50 people dead over the weekend, further adding to an already alarmingly high 2017 death toll that is likely to make this year Mexico’s most violent of the past two decades.
Guerrero saw the worst of it: 17 homicides occurred in the state where where six of the victims were found in a clandestine grave in Acapulco. The other 11 fatalities were caused by shootings in both the port city and other municipalities including Técpan de Galeana and Alcholoa.
Sixteen people were killed in Baja California Sur on Friday and Saturday including a one-year-old infant who was caught in the crossfire in an attack at a restaurant in the state capital La Paz. It brought the number of people killed in the state last week to 35.
A further seven murders were recorded in the northern border state of Chihuahua.
Counted among the dead were three bullet-riddled bodies found in the back of an abandoned pick-up truck with New Mexico license plates in the municipality of Riva Palacio. The victims were members of the Mennonite community.
Another two people were shot dead at a party in Ciudad Juárez.
In San Luis Potosí, the owner of a cantina in the state capital found two people dead when he arrived to clean the venue at approximately 11:30am yesterday, police reported.
Violence also hit the border city of Tijuana in Baja California.
Attacks on a bar in the downtown area and a seafood restaurant in the southeast of the city left four dead and 10 wounded, according to the municipal Secretariat of Public Security. The perpetrator of the bar attack was arrested and taken into custody.
A 22-year-old man was also fatally wounded by gunfire in Tlalnepantla, México state.
The wave of violence over the weekend added to a record high death toll that is set to exceed Mexico’s previous annual record, registered in 2011 when former President Felipe Calderón was waging a war against drug cartels.
In the first nine months of this year, 18,505 homicides were recorded, according to statistics from the Interior Secretariat. The figure equates to more than 68 murders per day, six higher than the 62 per day recorded in 2011.
Several months and quarters of 2017 have been among Mexico’s most violent in the last 20 years including record high numbers for intentional homicides in May that was promptly relegated to second place after even higher numbers were recorded in June.
Rising crime has also affected popular tourist destinations including Los Cabos, Baja California Sur and Cancún, Quintana Roo, leading the United States Department of State to issue an updated travel warning in August.
With just over two months until the end of 2017, this year is set to become not only the bloodiest in President Enrique Peña Nieto’s six-year term but also the most violent since records were made publicly available in 1997.