Mexico City: A government official said that in Mexico on Friday, 18 people were killed in a gun battle between suspected drug cartels.
State government spokesman Rossio Aguilar said that the gun battle took place in a remote area of Zacatecas State in the north of the country.
Since the Mexican government began deploying federal troops to combat cartels in 2006, drug-related violence has claimed more than 300,000 lives.
“There were 18 dead, and the confrontation occurred in the community of San Juan Capistrano, in the municipality of Valparaiso,” Aguilar added.
The battle was between rival gangs fighting over turf, she told Milenio TV.
Valparaiso borders Jalisco state, a stronghold of a powerful cartel called Jalisco Nueva Generacion.
Authorities said the group is launching a violent campaign to control drug trafficking routes.
According to the local government coordination team responsible for security in Zacatecas, three cars were found at the scene, one of which was burned, and “a large number of shells of different calibers.”
Since Wednesday, local media have reported a series of gun battles when the bodies of two police officers were found on a bridge in Zacatecas.
But Aguilar said that so far, the authorities have not found a connection between this terrible discovery and the gun battle that took place in Valparaiso on Friday.
Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, acknowledged Friday there were security problems in the region, but said his administration was making progress in the fight against crime.
“The state has the obligation to guarantee peace and tranquility, the security of all citizens,” Lopez Obrador said in his usual morning conference.
He said the government was “making an effort” in Zacatecas, as well as other troubled states.