Death toll of Mexican police in ambush rises to 12

11:42, June 15, 2010      

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Authorities have raised the death toll to 12 in an ambush on federal police in Zitacuaro, a town in central Mexican state Michocan, after two injured offices died in hospital in Toluca.

The ambush, which occurred at 9 a.m. local time (1400 GMT) on Monday, began when gangsters sealed the Zitacuaro-Toluca Highway and the Zitacuaro-Ciudad Hidalgo Highway. There were two separate clashes, at each of the barricades, which were made of burning buses, according to a statement from Mexico's Public Security Ministry.

The injured were taken to hospitals in Morelia, Michoacan's state capital, and Toluca, capital of the neighboring State of Mexico. Local newspapers report that the Defense Ministry sent soldiers to gather evidence that will lead to the capture of the killers.

Local Media reports said that the central government had sent 30 soldiers each to protect the injured police at each hospital.

In July last year, Michoacan was the site of pitched battles between gangsters, on one side, and federal police and soldiers on the other. The bloodshed ended when authorities arrested four leading members of drug smuggling clan La Famalia, which had previously murdered 12 federal police officers in the area.

Last week, Mexican authorities reported 39 drug linked murders in less than 24 hours. One was an execution of 19 people carried out in a drug rehabilitation center in Chihuahua City, capital of Chihuahua state; and another the aftermath of a public gunfight in Ciudad Madero, in northwestern state Tamaulipas, during which 20 people died.

Since December 2006 at least 22,700 people have died in the war to prevent the smuggling of drugs into Mexico's northern neighbor, the United States, according to Mexican government figures. The fight against drug traffickers has become a central plank of the administration of Mexico's President Felipe Calderon.

Michocan's Pacific coast is considered a major entry point for cocaine arriving in Mexico from South America where it is manufactured.

Source: Xinhua


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