At least 13 killed in shootouts in northern Mexico
Monterrey: At least 13 people were killed on Friday in shootouts in northern Mexico between Mexican troops and gunmen, authorities said.
An Army official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said all those killed were gunmen suspected of working for the Zetas, drug traffickers who also works as enforcers for the Mexican Gulf cartel.
The northern Mexican newspaper El Norte, however, reported that at least one bystander was killed.
Troops were searching a villa in the town of Juarez, a suburb of Monterrey, on Friday when they were ambushed by a group of heavily armed men. Ten gunmen were killed in the initial shootout, the official said.
Television images showed a garden littered with bloody corpses. Several handcuffed men sat on the ground with shirts pulled over their heads and a line of automatic rifles near them.
Some gunmen managed to flee the house in cars, and at least three more gang suspects were killed during a second shootout near the town`s centre, the official said.
In the second confrontation, a car caught fire and television images showed three charred bodies, two of them with their hands tied behind their backs.
The Navy said in a news release that it arrested several people in the town of Juarez linked to the killing last month of Army Brig Gen Juan Arturo Esparza.
Esparza was killed shortly after he was named police chief in the Monterrey suburb of Garcia. Five Garcia police officers were among 10 people arrested in the case.
Also on Friday, gunmen attacked a detention centre in Monterrey, killing two federal police officers guarding it and freeing more than 20 inmates, many of them local police officers accused of working for drug traffickers, the Army official said.
Confrontations between soldiers and drug traffickers have been happening with increasing frequency in Monterrey, Mexico`s wealthiest city, as troops fight drug dealers and corrupt police officers helping drug cartels.
Drug-fuelled violence has cost almost 14,000 lives across Mexico since President Felipe Calderon sent troops to crackdown on cartels in late 2006.
In southern Guerrero state, gunmen killed three police officers and injured four others, authorities said.
Public security officials in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero said in a statement Friday that the officers fired back after shooters opened fire Thursday evening in the town of Coyuca de Catalan. Two federal police officers, one state police officer and two of the gunmen were killed, it said.
The bodies of five men with gunshot wounds also were found Thursday in Guerrero, authorities said.
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