Violence targets police, media in Mexico massacre

Updated: 2010-08-28 11:13
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Rivera said only the 31 identified dead carried documents. Investigators are collecting DNA from the rest, but Rivera said it may be impossible to identify more.

Meanwhile, the bodies of 14 people were found dumped in various locations around the Pacific Coast resort of Acapulco on Friday, and the bodies of eight people who had been shot and burned were found in a car outside the border city of Ciudad Juarez.

The U.S. State Department issued a new warning for Americans living or traveling in Mexico, particularly in border cities. U.S. diplomats in the northern industrial city of Monterrey were told to move their children out of the area _ which is also plagued by fighting between the Zetas and its rivals _ after a deadly shootout last week in front of the American Foundation School, where many American students are enrolled.

The Mexican government, however, continued to stress that violence is limited to certain parts of the country.

Government security spokesman Alejandro Poire broke the wave of violence down to seven conflicts, and said 80 percent of more than 28,000 drug-related killings since late 2006 have been confined to just 162 of nearly 2,500 Mexican cities.

Kidnappings and attacks on government security patrols are rampant on the highways surrounding San Fernando. Last month, the bodies of 15 people were dumped in the middle of the road from San Fernando to Matamoros, a city across the border from Brownsville, Texas.

Drug gangs have terrorized news organizations in the area, where journalists have been killed and newspaper offices attacked to quiet coverage.

In Tamaulipas, many newspapers and TV stations have simply stopped reporting on the violence. The day after the massacre was discovered, local newspapers carried headlines about the new school year. Even the national Mexican media have covered the story without bylines, as did the Brownsville Herald in Texas.

Mexico's "increasing insecurity" has contributed to a sharp drop in the numbers of migrants in Mexico over the past year, the immigration commissioner said. But Romero said the U.S. economic slump and tighter border security are the main factors.

Mexican immigration agents have rescued 2,750 migrants this year, some stranded in deserts and others who were being held captive by organized crime gangs, Romero added. In Tamaulipas, alone, agents rescued 812 migrants kidnapped by drug gangs, she said. Many of those migrants told authorities the cartels tried to force them into drug trafficking.

"We perhaps saved them from being massacred like the 72 that we lost this time," she said.

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