15 killed in Mexico shootouts

April 27th, 2008 - 12:18 pm ICT by admin  

Tijuana (Mexico), April 27 (IANS) At least 15 people - most of them suspected drug-cartel enforcers - have been killed in clashes here, officials said. The head of public safety in Tijuana, Jesus Alberto Capella, said three gunfights involved cartel gunmen fighting each other while another was between the drug mob hit men and the police, Spanish news agency EFE reported.

He attributed the incidents to an internal battle within one of the gangs that control drug trafficking in Tijuana, located across the border from the US city of San Diego, California.

The first of the gunfights took place on the east side of the city at around 2.50 a.m. (0950 GMT) Saturday between two groups, both apparently linked to the cartel headed by the Arellano Felix brothers.

The clashes then continued in other areas of Tijuana, including at a shopping mall and a spot near a mausoleum.

According to unofficial reports, one of the groups involved in the clashes tried to obtain medical care for one of their wounded comrades at a hospital on the east side of the city and when the request was denied, they opened fire at the clinic.

The gunmen later headed to a private clinic on the other side of the city, where they clashed with officers from the Baja California State Preventative Police force.

The identity of those killed and wounded has not been revealed, but it is presumed that one or more may not be linked to organised crime.

Saturday’s shootouts were among the deadliest in recent months in Mexico, where a wave of violence has taken the lives of more than a 1,000 people so far this year, according to unofficial figures.

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