At least 32 people – including five women and several children – have been killed in less than 24 hours as two rival drug cartels clashed in Mexico's northern state of Chihuahua.
The deaths are reportedly related to a territorial dispute between the Juarez cartel, called La Linea, and their rival La Gente Nueva, the armed group of the Sinaloa Cartel. In Ciudad Juarez alone, 23 people were killed between Thursday and Friday. In Chihuahua, the capital city, seven killings were reported. The smaller towns of Bocoyna and Cuauhtemoc reported one murder each.
Juarez Municipal Public Security Secretary Ricardo Realivazquez Dominguez said most of the victims belonged to the Los Mexicles gang, which works for the Gente Nueva. The group is locked in a bloody territorial war with Los Aztecas, a rival gang serving the Juarez cartel.
Mayor Armando Cabada insisted the most recent killings aren't the result of a decline in security, but simply an ongoing conflict between criminal groups.
Armed assailants opened fire on two auto repair shops in separate attacks, killing six workers and injuring one.
Among the victims of last week's violent clashes were Edgar Rodriguez, his 14-year old nephew, and a number of female US citizens who had been visiting relatives in Juarez. It is not yet known whether any of the victims had links to the cartels involved.
Juarez remains one of the most violent cities in Mexico: the State Prosecutor's Office reports that 770 people were killed there in 2017 alone.
Last year, journalist Miroslava Breach was shot dead in front of her house. She had been threatened several times for her work reporting local ties between drug cartels and Mexico's two biggest political parties.
In the space of three months, more than 200 killings related to cartel violence were recorded in Chihuahua, according to local authorities.
To address violence, a new Internal Security Law has been proposed giving the military greater freedoms. However, critics say the law amounts to a violation of Mexicans' human rights and will only serve to bolster military violence and impunity.