March 14, 2010 in Nation/World

Shootings kill two dozen in Mexican coastal state

Natalia Parra Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

People stand next to the police line at the site where a man was killed in the Pacific coast resort city of Acapulco, Mexico, on Saturday.
(Full-size photo)

Toll mounts

Almost 18,000 people have been killed in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon deployed the army to battle cartels in December 2006.

ACAPULCO, Mexico – A series of shootings killed 24 people Saturday in a Pacific coast state plagued by drug gang violence. Nearly half died in one shootout between soldiers and armed men.

The gunbattle erupted when attackers opened fire on soldiers patrolling the small town of Ajuchitlan del Progreso, said Valentin Diaz, director of the Guerrero state investigative police. Ten gunmen and one soldier were killed, he said.

Diaz said the shootout broke out in the middle of the day in the center of the town as it was full of bystanders.

Thirteen other people were killed in Guerrero in several other incidents before dawn, according to a state police report.

Two decapitated men were found on a scenic road packed with nightclubs in the resort city of Acapulco. Another man was found shot to death on the edge of the city.

Gunmen, meanwhile, killed five police officers on patrol in Tuncingo, a rural area outside Acapulco. In the same area, police found the bullet-ridden bodies of five other men, including two who had been beheaded.

Police mentioned no possible motives; it was unclear if the killings were related. Several cartels are fighting over turf and trafficking routes in Guerrero.

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