Shootouts in northern Mexican city kill 21, fueling debate on cartels

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MEXICO CITY (Information) – Clashes between police and suspected cartel gunmen in a northern Mexican city killed 21 folks this weekend, authorities stated, including gasoline to bilateral tensions sparked by U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to designate the drug gangs as terrorists.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who’s pushing a much less confrontational method to subduing the cartels, repeated on Sunday that he wouldn’t settle for any intervention from overseas, whereas doubling down on his technique of containment.

The federal government of the northern state of Coahuila stated native safety forces killed seven gunmen early on Sunday, including to 10 others who had been shot lifeless throughout exchanges in and across the small city of Villa Union not removed from the Texas border.

4 police had been additionally killed and 6 wounded within the shootouts, which surprised residents of the city round noon on Saturday, sparking alarm on social media and contemporary criticism of the federal government’s method to dealing with the highly effective gangs.

Using into city in a convoy of closely armed pickups, gunmen sprayed the workplaces of the mayor of Villa Union with bullets and fought police for greater than an hour.

Heavy gunfire echoed by means of the city on movies broadcast on social media and native tv.

A lot of the downed gunmen, who had been suspected members of the Cartel of the Northeast from Tamaulipas state to the east, had been killed by state police in pursuit of the raiding occasion after it fled the city, Coahuila’s authorities stated.

The occasions in Villa Union add to a collection of latest safety lapses which have raised questions on Lopez Obrador’s coverage.

Throughout a speech in entrance of tens of hundreds of supporters on the primary anniversary of his presidency, Lopez Obrador once more stated Mexico would deal with its safety issues, in a nod to Trump’s feedback earlier within the week.

“We gained’t settle for any form of intervention, we’re a sovereign, free nation,” the 66-year-old veteran leftist stated in Mexico Metropolis’s Zocalo central sq..

Trump’s remarks have stirred considerations in Mexico that Washington may attempt to take unilateral motion to crush the drug cartels. U.S. Lawyer Basic William Barr is because of go to the nation subsequent week to debate cooperation on safety.

U.S. and Mexican criticism has centered on the Nov. four bloodbath of 9 ladies and youngsters of U.S.-Mexican origin from Mormon communities in northern Mexico, and the armed forces’ launch of a captured son of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman underneath strain from cartel gunmen within the metropolis of Culiacan.

Critics accuse Lopez Obrador of caving in to the gangs, however he defended the Culiacan episode through the speech, saying the discharge of Ovidio Guzman had prevented pointless bloodshed.

“Our adversaries can say we confirmed weak spot, however nothing is extra vital than folks’s lives,” he stated.

Homicides reached file ranges in Mexico final yr and are on observe to surpass that complete this yr.

Reporting by Dave Graham and Noe Torres; Enhancing by Lisa Shumaker and Alistair Bell