6 killed in Mexico border city apparently bystanders

MEXICO CITY - Prosecutors are investigating the killing of two women and four men in the northern Mexico border city of Reynosa, apparently as the result of crossfire, officials said Thursday.

The Tamaulipas state prosecutor's office said state police had responded to a report of gunfire between gunmen in the area where the six bodies and a seventh wounded man were found.

The office said in an initial report that none of the six bodies tested positive for having a gun. Three were identified as members of a family passing through the area and three others were thought to have been employed at a nearby factory. All were believed to be bystanders.

It was not clear who killed them or why, but civilians in Tamaulipas have been injured and killed in the crossfire of drug gang battles and shootouts between criminals and law enforcement.

Last week, the Mexican marines accepted responsibility for the deaths of three civilians killed when they drove through a running gun battle between marines and cartel gunmen in the border city of Nuevo Laredo in late March. The family's car was hit by bullets from a helicopter that was battling gunmen nearby.

Also Thursday, gunmen killed a mayor near the colonial city of Puebla in central Mexico.

The Puebla state prosecutors' office said Jose Efrain Garcia was killed when gunmen blocked his vehicle on a road and opened fire.

Garcia was mayor of the town of Tlanepantla, just east of Puebla. The area has been a hotbed of thieves drilling illegal taps into state-owned pipelines to steal fuel.

At least 55 mayors or mayors-elect have been killed in Mexico since 2006, often by criminal gangs or corrupt police.

On Wednesday, Mexico's Green party said a female state assembly candidate was killed in the neighbouring state of Michoacan.

In February, two female state assembly candidates were slain in Guerrero.

Violence threatens Mexico's July 1 presidential and local elections.


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