Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico bar shootings leave nine dead in Coahuila state

Mexican soldiers, 1 Dec 2012, Pena Nieto's inauguration Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Mexican army has been in the forefront of the fight against the drug cartels

Heavily armed gunmen in northern Mexico have stormed two bars, killing at least nine people.

The attacks happened within minutes of each other in the city of Torreon.

Police believe they were carried out by gangs fighting for control of drug trafficking in Coahuila state. No arrests have yet been made, police say.

Three other bars were targeted in similar attacks in Torreon in the past few days.

Most of the victims were in the Tornado bar and nightclub. Witnesses say armed men burst into the bar in the early hours of Sunday and began shooting randomly.

Minutes earlier, a similar shooting had taken place at another bar, called Futuro, in another area of the city. Two people were killed there.

News of the attacks spread quickly and most bars and restaurants in the city closed their doors for the night.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who was inaugurated last month, has said reducing violence in Mexico would be one of his government's priorities.

His predecessor, Felipe Calderon, launched a war on the powerful drug gangs in December 2006.

Critics say the deployment of the army to fight the cartels has led to an escalation in violence, affecting mostly innocent victims.

Several drug lords have been arrested or killed. But an estimated 60,000 people have died in drug-related violence in the past six years.

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