Mexico drug war death toll soars

2010-12-17 07:33

Mexico City – The number of deaths in Mexico’s vicious four-year drug gang war has soared passed 30 000, authorities said yesterday, with 12 456 fatalities this year alone.

“The death toll we have up until November 30 is 30 196 since the beginning of the government (of President Felipe Calderon),” said Attorney-General Arturo Chavez, noting that violence has especially flared this year.

Calderon launched a massive military crackdown on the cartels in December 2006, and since then there has been an escalating cycle of violence both between gangs fighting each other – largely for drug trafficking routes into the United States – and security forces attempting to battle them.

At least 10 of the 24 most wanted cartel leaders have been killed or captured in 2010, Cartel said.

The new figures however show a 6.8% uptick in murders in the last four months, since authorities in August reported a total toll of over 28 000.

There are almost daily incidents of beheadings, tales of torture and kidnap-murders in many northern Mexican towns.

In record violence, official figures showed Wednesday that Mexico’s bloody border city of Cuidad Juarez had recorded 3 010 killings in 2010, including 140 police officers, in unrest linked to the drug trade.

The city of 1.3 million people opposite El Paso in the US state of Texas is a major hub for the cocaine trade. The state prosecutor’s office said the toll from fighting has skyrocketed in recent years, hitting 1 656 in 2008 and 2 754 last year.

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