Last updated at 12:23 BST, Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mutilations in Mexico

Summary

15 May 2012

Almost 50 dead bodies have been found dumped in black plastic bags on a highway outside the northern Mexican city of Monterrey. So far, law enforcement officials have not named a group as responsible for the crime, which is one of the worst of its kind in the country's violent drug war.

Reporter:

Will Grant

Residents look at shoes of missing people

Residents look at shoes of missing people that have been arranged to form the number forty-nine, in memory of the mutilated victims.

Listen

Click to hear the report

Report

In what was one of the most violent incidents in Mexico for many months, dozens of dismembered and decapitated bodies were dumped in plastic bags on one of the main roads out of the city of Monterrey.

The victims had been brutally murdered and the authorities later said the killers had cut the hands off the bodies, making identifying the remains even harder. The state authorities in Nuevo Leon said the victims had been murdered as long as two days ago, based on the state of decomposition of some of the bodies.

An investigation is underway, but the murders have all the hallmarks of being carried out by one of the country's powerful drug gangs. Monterrey is experiencing some of the worst violence in Mexico's spiralling drug conflict, and large criminal organisations such as Los Zetas are very prominent in the northern region of the country.

Many Mexicans are angry that, despite six years of the government's military offensive against the drug gangs, the cartels are still able to carry out massacres on this kind of a scale. With the presidential election just weeks away, the incident only goes to underline the huge scale of the security task facing the next administration.

Listen

Click to hear the vocabulary

Vocabulary

dismembered

cut into pieces

decapitated

headless

brutally

cruelly

the remains

the dead bodies

decomposition

decay

the hallmarks

the signs, the characteristics

spiralling

continuously increasing

prominent

easily seen, noticeable

cartels

business organisations (often criminal)

to underline

to emphasise