At least nine people were killed and 16 vehicles set on fire during a wave of gang violence in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, on Tuesday but the state sees no connection with Monday’s attack on women and children near the Sonora border.
Authorities said that gunmen carried out at least six different attacks in the border city. Some of the victims burned to death, the newspaper Reforma reported.
At 2:00am, four armed men stopped a transit bus in which factory workers were traveling. They doused the bus with gasoline, blocked its doors and set it on fire.
Nine people inside managed to escape via the windows but sustained first and second degree burns and were taken to hospital.
Four factory-owned buses parked in three different Juárez neighborhoods were also set alight early Tuesday morning.
A second transit bus suffered the same fate after it was stopped while traveling on the Juárez-Porvenir highway near the town of Loma Blanca, 20 kilometers southeast of the border city. The passengers managed to escape.
Ten cars were also set ablaze in different parts of Ciudad Juárez.
Later Tuesday, there was an armed attack at a building next to the Juárez branch of the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office during which a security guard was wounded.
State authorities issued a red alert in response to the wave of violence across the city.
Attorney General César Peniche said there was no evidence of any connection between the violence in Juárez and the attack on a Mormon family on Monday.Federal authorities believe it could have been perpetrated by La Línea, a gang with links to the Juárez Cartel.
He said that the burning of buses appeared to be a strategy by crime groups to distract authorities that were carrying out an operation to detect vehicles transporting drugs, weapons and other illegal goods, and an inspection inside a state penitentiary.
“The reaction of criminal groups was aimed at trying to distract the actions of the three levels of government in Ciudad Juárez,” Peniche said.