16 found murdered in Mexico, drug cartels’ war suspected

September 30th, 2008 - 2:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Tijuana (Mexico), Sep 30 (IANS) Sixteen people have been found murdered in Mexico’s northern border city Tijuana in what the police said could be a revenge attack for the arrest of a local drug gang hit man, EFE news agency reported Tuesday.Authorities found Monday four bodies dumped near the national attorney general’s office in Tijuana, which borders San Diego of California, and later found twelve more bodies near a primary school with plastic bags tied over their heads, officials said.

Jose Manuel Yepiz, the Baja California state attorney general, told reporters that there was a woman among the murdered people who range in age from 25 to 35.

The way the people were murdered resembles the style of the drug killings plaguing Mexico as the country’s powerful cartels fight the army and each other.

Warning messages left with both groups of bodies indicated the killings could be a response to the arrest at the weekend, reportedly triggered by a tip-off, of a hit man working for the Arellano Felix cartel, Tijuana’s main drug gang.

“We are not ruling out that it is a reaction to the arrest of one of the most important members of the Arellano Felix cartel,” a spokesman for the Baja California state attorney general’s office said.

In the last 12 hours in Tijuana and the neighbouring towns of Playas de Rosarito and Tecate, there have been 21 murders, including the recent killings.

Mexico has been plagued in recent years by drug-related violence, with powerful cartels battling each other and the security forces, as rival gangs vie for control of lucrative smuggling and distribution routes.

Armed groups linked to Mexico’s drug cartels murdered around 2,700 people in 2007, and the death toll this year is already at nearly 3,200, according to an unofficial tally published recently by the Mexico City daily El Universal.

Since taking office in December 2006, President Felipe Calderon has deployed more than 30,000 soldiers and federal police to nearly a dozen of Mexico’s 31 states in a so far failed bid to stem the violence.

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