Calderon asks Mexicans to help fight cartels

Image caption,
Deadly gun battles have become almost a daily occurrence in Mexico

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has made a nationwide appeal for public support as the government battles to control drug-related violence.

In a televised address, Mr Calderon urged Mexicans to report any criminals to the authorities, saying Mexico's future was at stake.

Mexico is experiencing a surge in drug-related violence with at least 160 people killed in the past week.

About 23,000 have died since 2006 when Mr Calderon declared war on cartels.

His appeal came hours after the army said it had killed 15 suspected cartel gunmen in a shoot-out in the southern town of Taxco in Guerrero state.

"This is a battle that is worth fighting because our future is at stake," Mr Calderon said in the 10-minute address.

"It's a battle that, with all Mexicans united, we will win."

He added: "To recover our security won't be an easy or quick task but it's worth continuing. My government can't and won't let its guard down."

Critics of the president say his policy of using troops to fight the cartels has made the violence worse, without stopping the flow of drugs.

But Mr Calderon says the eruption of violence is partly the result of cartels regrouping after being hit by his administration's efforts against them.

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