Berliner Tageblatt - Nine dead after attacks on Mexican mayoral candidates

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Nine dead after attacks on Mexican mayoral candidates
Nine dead after attacks on Mexican mayoral candidates / Photo: © AFP

Nine dead after attacks on Mexican mayoral candidates

Two attacks against mayoral candidates in Mexico's June elections have left nine people dead in the southern state of Chiapas, the prosecutor's office in the organized crime-plagued region said Sunday.

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The two candidates survived, though one was wounded, in the onslaughts Saturday night and early Sunday in the municipalities of Villa Corzo and Mapastepec, it said in a statement.

The attacks marked an escalation of violence in Chiapas against politicians intending to seek office in the June 2 vote, when Mexicans will also elect a new president.

Last week, six people, including a minor and mayoral candidate Lucero Lopez, were killed in an ambush after a campaign rally in the municipality of La Concordia, neighboring Villa Corzo.

More than two dozen politicians have been killed since September last year, according to the NGO Data Civica.

The toll increases to more than 50 people if relatives and other victims of those attacks are counted.

The prosecutor's office said the attack in Villa Corzo targeted a motorcade transporting Mayor Robertony Orozco, who is seeking reelection for the Morena party of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Three people died in the attack, and another later in hospital.

Orozco was shot in both legs, the statement said.

- Cartel rivalry -

In Mapastepec, attackers had targeted the motorcade of mayoral candidate Nicolas Noriega, who escaped unharmed, though five others were killed and two people injured.

Spiraling criminal violence has seen more than 450,000 people murdered in Mexico since the government of then-president Felipe Calderon launched a controversial military offensive against drug cartels in 2006.

The homicide rate has almost tripled to 23 cases per 100,000 inhabitants since then.

Many Mexicans see insecurity as the most urgent challenge for the next government, according to surveys.

Electoral campaigns in Chiapas are often violent, but the situation has deteriorated because of a war being waged between the Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa cartels in a region known as La Frailesca, which includes Villa Corzo and La Concordia.

The cartels are fighting over drug trafficking routes and control of other criminal enterprises such as extortion.

Mapastepec is a key strategic area because of its proximity to the Pacific coast.

I.Meyer--BTB