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Mexican drug violence claims 24 lives in 24 hours

By Nick Valencia, CNN
Many of the recent drug-related slayings in the Mexican state of Chihuahua have occurred in public places.
Many of the recent drug-related slayings in the Mexican state of Chihuahua have occurred in public places.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Killings scattered over four locations throughout Mexican state of Chihuahua
  • All the slayings occurred in public places, including a bar
  • Violence result of battle between two cartels, said attorney general's spokesman
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(CNN) -- Drug violence in the Mexican state of Chihuahua left 24 people dead in the span of 24 hours this weekend, the state attorney general's office said Sunday.

The killings were scattered over four locations throughout the state, with eight dead in Juarez, 10 killed in the capital of Chihuahua, five killed in Cuauhtemuc and one killed in Parral.

All the slayings occurred in public places, with the killings in Cuauhtemuc occurring in a bar, said Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general.

The killings took place between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, Gonzalez said.

The victims -- all male -- ranged in age between 18 and 25 years old.

No other details about the killings or the victims were immediately available.

"This is an indicator of the incrementally increasing war between the two cartels battling for Juarez Plaza, the state's drug trafficking corridor," Gonzalez said, referring to an ongoing battle between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels for dominance in the area. Juarez Plaza is a major thoroughfare through the area.

"I can't give you a reason why the violence is picking up the last week of April going into this month," Gonzalez added.

Some Mexican news organizations have reported that the Sinaloa Cartel had defeated the rival Juarez organization but Gonzalez said, "There is no winner to this war."

The spate of weekend killings followed another bloody week in the Ciudad Juarez area.

On Wednesday, at least 15 people were killed in drug-related violence in Juarez, authorities said.

The slayings included four people whose bodies were found at one location, another three -- one of them a woman -- who were found slain at a second location, and another eight victims who were killed at a bar, police spokesman Jacinto Seguro said.

On Tuesday, 10 people were killed, Seguro said, including three who were shot outside a supermarket. Another victim was killed outside a shopping mall.

In all, 25 people were killed between Tuesday and Wednesday, Seguro said.

Ciudad Juarez is the most violent city in Mexico, with more than 2,600 drug-related deaths in 2009. No official numbers are available for this year, but more than 500 killings have been reported by local media. Some reports have the figures as high as 810 in Juarez this year.

According to a report released in April by the Mexican government, Chihuahua state is Mexico's hardest-hit state by drug violence, with 6,757 people killed since the start of the drug war at the end of 2006.

 
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