Family of 6, including 3 children, killed in south Mexico, the latest in a string of family killings

TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico (AP) — A family of six, including three children, were killed Friday by gunmen in the southern Mexico border state of Chiapas in a town marred by militia violence.

Julio Pérez, the mayor of the Chiapas town of Pantelho, said the killings happened there Friday, and called it “a massacre.” Two warring militia groups suspected of being backed by drug cartels have been battling for control of the town.

It was the latest in a string of mass killings in which hitmen have wiped out entire families in Mexico.

On Sunday, gunmen burst into a home in the north-central state of Guanajuato and killed four women and two children.

Both Chiapas, which shares a border with Guatemala, and Guanajuato have been hit by bloody gang turf battles in recent years.

Local media reported that the gunmen entered the home in the city of Leon in Guanajuato looking for a male member of the family. When they found out he had already fled, they killed the women and children.

The Guanajuato killings have drawn special attention because surveillance camera footage showed five National Guard officers entering the home five minutes before the killings took place. They left the home carrying a large black plastic bag just before the killers arrived.

On Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said five officers of the quasi-military National Guard had been detained for breaches of military discipline, and were in the custody of the Defense Department, but he refused to give more details on the case.