CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Six men were fatally shot on Friday just a few meters (yards) from the Mexico-U.S. border, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said.
The victims came under attack while riding in an SUV near one of the bridges that link Ciudad Juarez with El Paso, Texas. Seeking refuge, the driver pulled up to a grocery store.
Two of the SUV’s occupants were killed inside the shop and two others died on the street, while two remained in the vehicle.
Authorities are working to identify the victims, described as ranging in age from 25 to 35.
Drug-related violence has claimed more than 1,000 lives in Juarez since Jan. 1 and upwards of 5,000 over the past 2½ years.
President Felipe Calderon’s administration has deployed about 5,000 Federal Police officers in the border city of 1.5 million to try to stem killings by drug cartels battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.
Juarez was also occupied for months by thousands of army troops, but the military presence did nothing to quell the violence, while drawing numerous complaints from residents about abuses by the soldiers.
More than 23,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war during Calderon’s tenure, which began in December 2006. EFE