At Least 21 Die In Suspected Mexican Drug Cartel’s Gun Battle With Police
The death toll in a Mexican town has risen to at least 21, following a deadly attack involving suspected cartel gunmen.
Coahuila State Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme told local media that the armed group had stormed Villa Union - a town in Coahuila state not far from the US border - on Saturday.
According to the Associated Press, they attacked local government offices, which prompted state and federal forces to intervene, resulting in an hour-long gun battle.
Officials said 10 gunmen and four police officers had been killed in the bloody shoot-out, and that several municipal workers were missing.
State police went on to pursue the suspected gang members after they fled town and killed seven of them in the early hours of Sunday, in turn bringing the death toll to 21.
Riquelme addressed reporters outside the Villa Union mayor's bullet-riddled office, saying in a statement that he believed the gunmen were members of the Cartel of the Northeast.
He also said authorities had identified 14 vehicles involved in the attack and seized more than a dozen guns.
Riquelme added that the state had acted 'decisively' to tackle the cartel henchmen, and that security forces will remain in the town for several days to restore a sense of calm.
"These groups won't be allowed to enter state territory," Riquelme said.
Ante la agresión del día de hoy, acudimos de manera inmediata al municipio de #VillaUnión en solidaridad con la alcaldesa Narcedalia Padrón Arizpe, para darle tranquilidad a la población y reforzar las acciones de #seguridad en el norte de Coahuila. pic.twitter.com/z1NcH7hurv
- Miguel Riquelme (@mrikelme) December 1, 2019
A tweet from Riquelme, translated roughly into English, said: "In the face of today's aggression, we immediately went to the municipality of #VillaUnión in solidarity with Mayor Narcedalia Padrón Arizpe, to give the population peace of mind and strengthen the actions of #seguridad in the north of Coahuila."
The AP reports that videos of the shootout posted to social media showed burned-out vehicles, along with the façade of Villa Union's municipal office sprayed with bullet holes.
Rapid gunfire could also be heard in videos - as could the voices of frantic people telling others to stay indoors.
A damaged black pickup truck with the C.D.N. of the Cartel del Noreste, or Cartel of the Northeast, written in white on its door is seen on the street.
Featured Image Credit: PA