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A protester wears a mask in memory of the 43 students found buried after bieng killed by a criminal gang. AP/Press Association Images
Gang warfare

Mexican drug cartel targets police in ambush attack and kills 15

It’s part of an ongoing battle with police.

AT LEAST 15 police officers have been killed in an ambush by a gang in western Mexico.

Five more officers were wounded in the assault, which took place on Monday on a highway near the village of Soyatan.

The gang attacked a convoy carrying the elite state police unit headed to Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest city.

“They died in a cowardly attack, which means that we can’t let our guard down,” said Francisco Alejandro Solorio Arechiga, Jalisco’s state security commissioner.

“Fifteen of our colleagues lost their lives. Five officers were also wounded in this regrettable event, they’re all in stable condition,” he said.

The Jalisco state prosecutor’s office had reported the attack late Monday but had not confirmed the fatalities, saying only that several officers had been “hit by bullets.”

Officials did not identify the gang but a security source says they suspect the powerful “Jalisco New Generation Drug Cartel” carried out the assault.

Authorities say the assault appeared to be in revenge over the arrest of gang suspects in an investigation into a failed assassination attempt against Solorio on 30 March.

“These attacks are a reaction of organised crime after the attack against me,” Solorio said after a meeting of federal police, military and state security officials in Guadalajara.

Fifteen suspects are under investigation over the attack against Solorio. Four of them have been detained.

The assassination bid was itself a response to a 23 March operation in the town of Zacoalco de Torres in which three gang suspects were killed, the statement said.

In a separate gun battle four days earlier which left 11 people dead.

Violent gang

More than 100,000 people have died or gone missing since Mexico’s drug war began to escalate in 2006 with the deployment of troops to combat drug cartels.

The Jalisco drug cartel has fought violent turf wars with the Knights Templar gang in the neighboring state of Michoacan for years.

The cartel emerged in 2010 after the death of Ignacio Coronel Villarreal, alias “Nacho Coronel,” the top leader in Jalisco for the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

Criminals have attacked other authorities in Jalisco in the past year.

In September, a federal lawmaker was abducted as he drove to the airport near Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest city. His charred body was found hours later in a neighboring state.

In May, a group of 30 gunmen armed with grenades ambushed a military truck near the town of Guachinango, killing four soldiers.

© – AFP 2015

Read: Mummified bodies found on Mexico’s highest peak >

Read: A bat-filled cave, good wine, aged whiskey and cable TV: A drug lord’s game of hide-and-seek >

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