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Calera, where police battled gangsters on Monday. Calera, where police battled gangsters on Monday.

Confrontation in Zacatecas leaves 14 civilians dead

Attack followed a weekend with record number of homicides

Three police officers were wounded during a gun battle Monday in Calera, Zacatecas, in which 14 armed civilians were killed, state Security Minister Arturo López Baltazar said.

Police were carrying out tactical operations in the municipality located 29 kilometers from the state capital when they were attacked by gunmen.

Of the three officers injured, two had shrapnel wounds and one suffered a gunshot wound. All were reported to be in stable condition.

Authorities seized three of the assailants’ vehicles, as well as an arsenal of weapons that included eight rifles and a grenade launcher. Ammunition and drugs were also seized.

López said that police presence in Zacatecas has been increased to include ground and air patrols and vowed the state would spare no resource to restore order and tranquility.

The violent attack was not an isolated case. On October 5, just meters across the border in San Luis Potosí, 12 bodies were discovered, bringing the total to 21 dumped at the site recently and 46 for the year. Most have been found in Villa de Ramos and Vanegas, both bordering Zacatecas.

Authorities suspect gangs in Zacatecas, most likely the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels, are using the region as a body dump. Officials from both states plan to meet to discuss how better to coordinate public safety issues.

Monday’s gun battle comes on the heels of the most violent weekend in Mexico’s history.

Official numbers show that between Friday and Sunday there were 273 murders throughout the country, with 114 occurring on Sunday alone. Thirty-four people were killed in Guanajuato, 34 in the state of México, 26 in Jalisco, 16 in Chihuahua, 14 in Puebla and 11 in Mexico City.

Previously, the most violent weekend on record was over Father’s Day, when 265 people were murdered between June 19 and 21.

Last week federal Security Minister Alfonso Durazo assured Mexicans that “we have progressively left behind the blackest days of insecurity,” and claimed that “the day is near when we will see ourselves walking in the streets free of fear.”

Source: El Universal (sp),  Excélsior (sp)

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