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  HOME | Mexico

11 Murdered in Mexico Border City

CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO -- At least 11 people have been murdered so far this weekend in Ciudad Juarez, which is across the border from El Paso, Texas, Mexican prosecutors said.

A police officer was killed and another wounded Friday night when gunmen opened fire on their patrol car.

Unidentified gunmen killed two people after a car chase, shooting one man inside an SUV and the other in the middle of a street as he tried to run away.

Several gunmen entered a bar early Saturday and killed four people, including the owner, two waiters and a security guard.

Three unidentified men, meanwhile, were murdered and their bodies burned in the southern section of Juarez, where more than 1,600 people were murdered in 2008, making it, according to media tallies, the most violent city in Mexico.

Police found a bullet-riddled body around noon Saturday in a residential neighborhood.

The latest killings, all blamed on a turf battle between rival drug traffickers, raised the death toll so far this year in Juarez to nearly 100.

Juarez ended 2008 with a total of 1,605 people murdered, including 77 federal, state and municipal police officers, as well as 85 bank robberies, an average of 10 cars stolen per day and more than 20 businesses burned, according to press tallies.

The last few months of 2008 also saw citizens increasingly fearful of telephone extortion rackets that spread rapidly and prompted anti-crime marches by grassroots groups in the city, which became infamous for the murders and disappearances of more than 400 women since 1993.

The government, however, could not contain the wave of violence in Juarez, where Army and federal police forces were bolstered in late March in an unsuccessful effort to battle criminal groups.

December was the second-bloodiest month of the year, with 195 murders reported, surpassed only by August, when 228 people died.

On Dec. 15, four municipal police were killed and one was wounded in simultaneous attacks on various targets in this violent metropolis.

In 2008, Juarez lived through days when dozens of people were murdered in the span of a few hours, and armed groups committed acts of violence in public areas that terrorized residents.

Armed groups linked to Mexico's drug cartels murdered around 1,500 people nationwide in 2006 and another 2,700 in 2007, and newspapers pegged last year's death toll at some 5,630.

The increase in violence and the lack of security in Mexico in 2008 resulted in at least seven tourist destinations registering an average decline of 10 percent in arrivals, the daily Reforma reported last week.

Ensenada, Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez - all near the U.S. border - were the most affected, with declines in the numbers of tourists visiting them of between 13 percent and 21 percent, according to Tourism Secretariat figures cited by Mexican Hotel and Motel Association president Rafael Armendariz.

Since taking office in December 2006, President Felipe Calderon has deployed 30,000 army troops and federal police to various regions of the country in a bid to crush the cartels.

But despite a string of high-profile arrests and record cocaine seizures, the pace of the killings has only increased.

 

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