Twelve killed in Mexico Army clash with drug traffickers
Twelve people were killed in a pitched battle on Friday between Mexican Army troops and suspected drug traffickers in Nuevo Laredo, in the north of Mexico, officials said, dpa reported.
The Interior Ministry said that 21 people were injured in the clash, including three children. The dead included nine suspected drug traffickers, two civilians and one soldier.
Earlier Friday, the government said that an estimated 7,048 people have been killed in Mexico's drug wars in the year to date. About 24,826 have died in incidents related to organized crime since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006.
The death toll was made public by Attorney General Arturo Chavez at a press conference Friday, based on a count by the National Security Cabinet. The figures include deaths from clashes between rival drug gangs and also from encounters between alleged criminals and security forces, Chavez said.
He noted that the increased presence of federal troops across the country has led many gangs to split up or lose control of their territory, or to move to different areas where they face opposition from local criminals who used to be in control there.