Mexican troops kill 10 gunmen in Gulf coast state

Mexican troops clashed with gunmen trying to establish a base in Veracruz.

Updated: Apr 20, 2011, 10:27 AM IST

Veracruz: Troops on Tuesday clashed with gunmen trying to establish a base in a city in eastern Mexico, killing 10 alleged assailants, the state government said.

Soldiers and marines were checking on a report of armed men in the Infonavit Rio Medio neighborhood in Veracruz when they came under fire, the Veracruz state government said in a statement. The troops then gave chase after some of the gunmen fled the scene and another shootout ensued, it said.

The troops also seized three automatic rifles, three police uniforms and two cars, it said.

The Red Cross in Veracruz said in a statement that a stray bullet from the gunfight entered a home, hitting a man in the arm.

Veracruz is one of several eastern Mexican states where the Gulf and Zetas drug cartels are fighting for control. The state and its largest city have the same name.

Also Tuesday, Mexico`s Defense Department reported it had captured nine suspects in connection with the killings of at least 145 people whose bodies were found starting early this month in pits in the township of San Fernando, in the border state of Tamaulipas.

The suspects were captured Monday in the Tamaulipas state capital, Ciudad Victoria. Three guns were seized during the arrests. They included alleged members of the Zetas cartel. Four of the suspects are women.

The Zetas allegedly pulled passengers off buses in San Fernando in late March, possibly as part of a forced recruitment effort.

The statement said the suspects confessed to participating in the kidnapping of bus passengers by the Zetas "so that a member of that organization could select people."

The statement did not specify what they were being selected for.

The killings occurred in the same township where authorities say the Zetas killed 72 Central American migrants in August. Those migrants were allegedly killed after refusing to work for the Zetas.

The federal Attorney General`s Office said Tuesday that another 22 people had been ordered held pending investigation in the San Fernando case, bringing the total of suspects currently held for investigation to 55.

Bureau Report