MEXICO CITY — Assailants shot dead a mayor, his father and 16 others in Mexico’s southern state of Guerrero on Wednesday, authorities said.
State Attorney General Sandra Luz Valdovinos told Milenio television Wednesday night that 18 people had been killed and two injured in the town of San Miguel Totolapan. Among the dead were Mayor Conrado Mendoza and his father, a former mayor of the city, she said. Two other people were injured.
Footage from the scene showed a town hall riddled with bullets.
Later Wednesday, in the neighboring state of Morelos, a state legislator was shot dead in the city of Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City.
While attacks on officials are not uncommon in Mexico, they come at a time when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s security strategy is being hotly debated. The president has placed a huge responsibility on the armed forces rather than the civilian police to bring the persistently high levels of violence in Mexico under control.
San Miguel Totolapan is an isolated municipality in Tierra Caliente, which is one of the most conflicted areas in Mexico, disputed by several gangs of drug traffickers.
In 2016, residents of Totolapan, tired of kidnappings by the local “Los Tequileros” gang, kidnapped the gang leader’s mother to leverage the release of others.
In Cuernavaca, Morelos State Attorney General Uriel Carmona said two gunmen traveling on motorcycles fatally shot state deputy Gabriela Marín as she exited a vehicle.
Local media said Marín, a member of the Morelos Progress party, was killed at a pharmacy in Cuernavaca. A person with Marín was reportedly injured in the attack.
Morelos Governor Cuauhtémoc Blanco condemned the attack and said via Twitter that security forces were deployed to search for the attackers.
The deaths of Mendoza and Marín brought the number of mayors killed under López Obrador’s administration to 18 and the number of state legislators to eight, according to data from Etellekt Consultores.
Mexico’s Congress is this week debating the president’s proposal to extend the army’s police duties through 2028. Lawmakers last month approved efforts by López Obrador to transfer the seemingly civilian National Guard to military control.
New York Post