At least 10 dead in southern Mexico clashes

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Deadly violence increase ahead of Mexico midterm election.

MEXICO CITY – At least 10 people were killed and 20 wounded in clashes between armed groups in the violent southern state of Guerrero, according to the state attorney’s office on Wednesday.

Gunfights erupted between two groups of civilians early Wednesday in the municipality of Tlacotepec.

The wounded were transferred to the local medical center as the federal police, the gendarmerie and the army investigate the shootings, authorities said.

The shootout took place three weeks before the June 7 mid-term elections. Violence has increased in several states, Guerrero amongst them, during the electoral season.

The state of Guerrero – one of the poorest in Mexico – has for years experienced the violence of criminal organizations that produce and transport illicit drugs in several municipalities.

Located 385 kilometers (240 miles) south of Mexico City, it is famous for its opium poppy fields used by drug cartels to produce heroin.

Last September, the city of Iguala made international headlines after 43 students were abducted by police, then murdered and burned by members of the Guerrero Unidos, or United Warriors, drug cartel, according to the official investigation.

Last week, residents of Chilapa, also in Guerrero, said at least 15 people were abducted by an armed gang. The ruling party candidate of the town was also murdered May 1.

Meanwhile, a clash between soldiers and gunmen in Villa Purificacion, a municipality in the western state of Jalisco, left eight dead Monday.

Three weeks ago, alleged members of the Jalisco New Generation cartel shot down a military chopper in the same city, killing eight soldiers and one federal police officer.

Fifteen police also lost their lives in the day of violence during which several banks and cars were burned in different cities around the state.

Last Friday, Jalisco’s state attorney disarmed 150 local police officers suspected of having ties to organized crime members.

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