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Three Mexican mayors killed so far this year

By Nick Valencia, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mayors have been killed in the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon, Morelos and Oaxaca
  • The Mexican attorney general's office says it will get involved if the killings continue
  • Last year, 14 mayors were killed across Mexico

(CNN) -- Three mayors in three Mexican states were assassinated in the first two weeks of this year, becoming high-profile victims in the country's drug-related violence, a spokeswoman with the Mexican Attorney General's Office told CNN Friday.

The first assassination occurred January 5 when Saul Vara Rivera, 48, mayor of Zaragoza in the municipality of Galeana, Nuevo Leon, was shot 23 times in the back. Local newspaper El Universal reported Vara Rivera was buried on Monday. There were still no suspects in his murder, according to the paper.

On Monday, Abraham Rosales Ortiz, mayor of Temoac in the central state of Morelos, was killed after being shot once in the face. State prosecutor Pedro Luis Benitez Velez told CNN that judging by the form of the attack, Rosales likely knew his killer.

A third mayor was killed Thursday morning in an indigenous community in the southern state of Oaxaca. Luis Jimenez Santiago Mata, 45, was exiting a building when he was shot by a lone gunman at least four times. Santiago had been in office since January 2010.

"The respective state attorney general's are operating these investigations. We have not been asked nor do we plan at this time to get involved," Rocio Torres with the Mexican Attorney General's Office told CNN by phone from Mexico City.

"I think they're going to have to do something about the debilitation of the mayors in this country. If it gets worse we likely will" get involved, Torres said.

She did not offer specifics or elaborate on any contingency plan the Attorney General's Office had in place.

In 2010, the most violent year in the country's four-year war on organized crime, 14 mayors were killed across the country, according to Torres.

 
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