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soldiers in apatzingan Soldiers engaged in the operation in Apatzingán.

Clash in Apatzingán leaves 9 dead

Army takes back municipal headquarters, which were occupied December 24

Nine people were killed after the army clashed with a self-proclaimed civil defense group in Apatzingán, Michoacán, early this morning.

About 50 militia took over the municipal headquarters on December 24 and vowed to remain until the leader of the Caballeros Templarios gang, or Knights Templar, had been captured, and arrests made in the death of Manuel Mora in a gunfight in La Ruana.

Today, authorities decided to take back the municipal offices.

There were two confrontations this morning in the city of 144,000 in Tierra Caliente. The first took place at 4:30 after federal security forces went in to oust those who had occupied the offices, and the militia fought back. The clash left one of the militia dead and 44 in custody.

Soldiers also seized illegal firearms and 20 vehicles. It was when those vehicles were being transferred to an impound lot that an armed group attempted to recover them. The fighting left eight more dead but it wasn’t clear who the victims were.

Apatzingán priest Gregorio López, also known as Padre Goyo, had charged that those who took over the municipal headquarters were not members of civil defense groups but elements of the criminal gang Los Viagra.

Source: Milenio (sp)

UPDATE: The final death tally was 16 killed and dozens wounded.

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