MEXICO CITY – Seven men were found dead of gunshot wounds early Thursday in two different parts of Chilpancingo, the capital of the violence-racked southern Mexican state of Guerrero, police sources told EFE.
At around 3:00 a.m., police received reports of gunfire in the Tatagildo slum, where officers subsequently found three handcuffed men aged 20-25 who had been shot dead and bore signs of torture.
The bodies of four other people killed in a similar fashion were found about an hour later near the Cerrito Rico dam on the city’s north side.
Although authorities have not yet identified the victims, they say the deaths may have been a settling of scores among rival organized crime gangs.
Chilpancingo and the nearby municipalities of Tixtla and Chilapa have been racked by a months-long turf war involving three criminal groups: the Ardillos and the Rojos, based in and around Chilapa; and the Sierra del Sur cartel, whose home is the state capital.
Nine youths were kidnapped in that same region just two days ago.
Six of them were abducted at a motorcycle repair shop located in a Chilpancingo school zone, while the other three were kidnapped in Tixtla’s La Villita neighborhood.
Tixtla is home to the Ayotzinapa Normal School, an all-male teacher-training institute. In September 2014, 43 students enrolled in that institution went missing in the nearby city of Iguala after coming under attack by local police.
On Wednesday, an operation involving some 3,500 soldiers and 200 federal and state police was launched in a bid to reduce cartel-related violence in several Guerrero municipalities.
The operation spans indigenous-majority Chilapa, Zitlala, Cuilapan, Zototitlan and Ahuacuotzingo, which have been plagued by organized crime over the past three years.
Hundreds of people have been killed in Guerrero, one of Mexico’s most violent states, since the disappearance of the 43 trainee teachers 16 months ago.