CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – A total of 2,756 people have been murdered this year in Ciudad Juarez, topping the homicide figure for all of last year in the Mexican border city, a press tally based on statistics released by prosecutors says.
A bloody weekend that left nearly 50 people dead in Ciudad Juarez, a gritty border metropolis that has become Mexico’s murder capital, pushed this year’s homicide total over the record 2009 figure.
Seven young men were killed and another wounded when gunmen attacked a house Saturday night in Juarez’s Frida Kahlo neighborhood.
Two of the victims, who ranged in age from 20 to 25, were found next to an automobile parked in front of the house, three of the other young men were found lying a short distance away and the rest of the bodies were discovered inside the house.
At least six gunmen traveling in two vehicles attacked the house, a municipal police spokesman said.
This was just the latest massacre in Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Gunmen killed 14 young people, who ranged in age from 16 to 25, attending a birthday party on Oct. 23 in Ciudad Juarez, which is in Chihuahua state.
Thirteen of the young people were pronounced dead at the scene and another died from his wounds at a hospital a day later.
Gunmen massacred 16 people attending a birthday party on Jan. 31 in the border city’s Villas de Salvarcar neighborhood.
Several suspects have been arrested in connection with the January massacre.
A total of 350 murders were registered in Ciudad Juarez last month, making October the bloodiest month of the year in the border city, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said in a report last week.
There were 227 homicides in January, 163 in February, 240 in March, 203 in April, 262 in May, 313 in June, 291 in July, 338 in August and 289 in September.
The Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, backed by hitmen from local street gangs, have been fighting for control of the border city.
Ciudad Juarez, where more than 6,000 people have been murdered since 2008, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The murder rate took off in the border city of 1.5 million people in 2007, when 310 people were killed, then it more than tripled to 1,607 in 2008, according to state AG’s office figures, with the number of killings climbing to 2,754 last year.
Ciudad Juarez, with 191 homicides per 100,000 residents, was the most violent city in the world in 2009, registering a higher murder rate than San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Caracas and Guatemala City, two Mexican non-governmental organizations said in a report released earlier this year.
The Mexico City daily Reforma reported Thursday that gangland killings have topped 10,000 this year.
The newspaper, which included the figures in its “Ejecutometro” (Execution meter), said the dead included 637 police officers and 52 military personnel.
Nearly 30,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.
The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking officials. EFE