Latin America & Caribbean

Mayor of Mexican town shot dead after death threats

Map of Mexico

Gunmen have killed the mayor of a Mexican town on the border with the United States.

Manuel Lara Rodriguez, 48, was shot dead in Ciudad Juarez, where he had fled to a month ago after receiving death threats.

He was the mayor of Guadalupe Distrito Bravos in Chihuahua state.

Guadalupe is at the centre of a wave of violence involving rival gangs smuggling drugs to the US.

Hundreds of its residents have been killed and it is listed among the most dangerous towns in the country.

The gunmen attacked Mr Lara at the house where he had been staying in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood of Ciudad Juarez at around midday on Saturday (1630 GMT).

Police said Mr Lara was shot in front of his family, adding that they had found 11 bullet shells in his driveway.

Border trouble

Mexican security forces say towns along the country's US border have become the main battle ground for drug cartels fighting over the lucrative smuggling routes to the United States.

President Felipe Calderon has deployed thousands of troops to the worst-affected regions along the border as part of his "war on drugs".

This week, he made a televised address appealing to the nation to help combat the escalation of violent drug battles that have rocked the country.

Last month, he asked a joint session of the US Congress for support.

He said it was crucial that the flow of weapons from the US to Mexico was curbed.

Despite his appeals, June is likely to be the deadliest month in his battle against the cartels since he took office almost four years ago.

Around 23,000 people have been killed since he took over as president.

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