Mexico violence 'kills 38 in three days'

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Mexican President Enrique Pena NietoImage source, AP
Image caption,
President Enrique Pena Nieto says tackling violence is a priority

A wave of violence in Mexico has left nearly 40 people dead in three days, authorities say.

At least 16 bodies were found in the Toluca region on Monday and another 22 in Mexico City over the weekend.

Police said organised crime is thought to be involved in the Toluca killings.

Recently inaugurated President Enrique Pena Nieto has said that reducing violence in Mexico is one of his government's top priorities.

He has recently enacted a law to trace and help thousands of victims caught up in drug violence and other crimes.

The bill sets up a compensation fund and establishes a national registry to record what happened to victims.

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Authorities have said the high death toll in Mexico City was "unusual" for the capital, but ruled out the involvement of organised crime.

On average, there are fewer than two violent deaths a day in the city.

In Toluca, however, many of the bodies had been dismembered and showed signs of torture.

Next to some of them, police found notes reportedly left by drug gangs.

President Pena Nieto has promised to reduce violence levels in the country.

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 70,000 people have died in drug-related violence in the past six years.