Mexico shootout: Seven die after gunmen ambush soldiers

Gunmen ambushed a military unit in southwest Mexico on Friday (March 17), killing two soldiers and at least five suspected criminals, according to police. The shootout caused further casualties. 

The altercation happened on Friday afternoon in the town of El Pescado, which is located in the state of Guerrero’s mountainous region and is a frequent site of clashes between criminal groups.

A military unit “was the target of an attack by approximately 18 armed civilians aboard two vehicles,” after which a shootout broke out, according to an army report, as per AFP. 

Five gunmen and two soldiers were killed while two people sustained gunshot wounds.

The attackers were reportedly members of La Familia Michoacana, one of Mexico’s most prominent drug cartels that saw a significant decline in power with the detention of its leaders, according to local authorities. 

The cartel has been restructuring while taking part in many violent incidents. 

The criminal organisation Los Tequileros is allegedly competing with La Familia Michoacana for dominance of the region where they conduct kidnapping, extortion, and drug trafficking.

Years of conflict between drug cartels fighting for control of the cultivation of marijuana and opium as well as drug trafficking have devastated Guerrero, one of Mexico’s poorest states. 

Since the government sent the army to fight the drug cartels in 2006, more than 350,000 people have died across Mexico in a wave of violence, according to official figures.

(With inputs from agencies)