Mexico gun battle death toll rises after seven more gang members killed

By Associated Press Reporter

Mexican security forces have killed seven more members of a presumed cartel assault force that rolled into a town near the Texas border and staged an hour-long attack, officials said.

It brings the death toll to at least 21 after the assault on city hall in Villa Union on Saturday.

The Coahuila state government said in a statement that officers were still chasing remnants of the force on Sunday.

Coahuila Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme talks to a woman who said her son was missing after a gun battle between Mexican security forces and suspected cartel gunmen (Gerardo Sanchez/AP)

Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme said at least 14 people had died by that afternoon, four of them police officers.

He also said then that several municipal workers were missing. It was not clear if they had since been located.

The new statement did not give a fresh death total but said seven more attackers were killed on Sunday in addition to 10 who reportedly died the day before.

The governor said the armed group stormed the town of 3,000 residents in a convoy of trucks, attacking local government offices and prompting state and federal forces to intervene.

A damaged pickup truck marked with the initials C.D.N. – the Spanish initials of the Cartel of the Northeast gang (Gerardo Sanchez/AP)

Bullet-riddled trucks left abandoned in the streets were marked C.D.N. – Spanish initials of the Cartel of the Northeast gang.

The town is about 35 miles from Eagle Pass, Texas, and 12 miles from the town of Allende – the site of a 2011 massacre involving the Zetas cartel in which officials said 70 people died.

The governor said security forces would remain in the town for several days to restore a sense of calm.

Mexico’s murder rate has increased to historically high levels, inching up by 2% in the first 10 months of the presidency of Andres Manuel López Obrador.

Federal officials said recently that there have been 29,414 homicides so far in 2019, compared to 28,869 in the same period of 2018.

The November slaughter by Mexican drug cartel gunmen of three women who held US citizenship and six of their children focused world attention on the rising violence.