11 people die in mass shootings in cartel-plagued part of Mexico amid wave of mass killings

May 15, 2024
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Eleven people were killed Tuesday in mass shootings in a small town in the southern Mexico state of Chiapas, the state prosecutor’s office said, marking at least the fourth mass killing in the county in just a week.

The office said the shooting occurred in the township of Chicomuselo, an area known as a trafficking route for migrant and drug smuggling that has been hit by cartel turf battles in recent months.

Security forces launched patrols of the region near the border with Guatemala as part of efforts to find the perpetrators, officials said.

The township — and the outlying hamlet of Morelia, where the killings occurred — is in a sparsely populated area near Mexico’s border with Guatemala.

There have been confrontations between drug cartels in the area as recently as Monday, but at least some of the victims of Tuesday’s shootings appeared to be simply residents of the town.

Chiapas draws tourists with its lush jungle, Indigenous communities and ancient Mayan ruins.

But the border area has been plagued by violence as the rival Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels battle for territory. Just last month, masked men stopped a vehicle carrying Mexico’s leading presidential candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum, while she was traveling between campaign stops to ask that she address the violence in Chiapas if she wins the June 2 election.

Candidates in Mexico Face Threats
The security convoy of candidate Willy Ochoa, formed by patrols of the National Guard, State Police and private security, leaving the municipality of Las Rosas, Chiapas, Mexico. May 6, 2024. 

Victoria Razo for The Washington Post via Getty Images


Thousands of people have been displaced as the cartels work to control migrant, drug and weapons smuggling routes and forcibly recruit locals.

The bloodshed in Chiapas marks at least the fourth mass killing in Mexico in about a week. Officials said eight people died in a weekend shooting “right in the center of town” in Mexico’s Morelos state, adjacent to Mexico City. Last Wednesday, nine bodies were found in a northern Mexican of Zacatecas. That came just one day after nine other corpses were found on an avenue in the city of Fresnillo, also in Zacatecas state. Messages addressed to a criminal group were found with those remains, authorities said.

Mexico has recorded more than 450,000 murders since launching a controversial anti-drug military operation in 2006, according to official figures.

AFP contributed to this report.

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