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XINHUA

At least 20 people are dead after what appeared to be a cartel-war shootout in the town of Las Tinajas, Michoacán, on Sunday, March 27, according to that central Mexican state’s Attorney General’s Office.

The shootout took place late Sunday night at a clandestine cockfight (palenque), where police later discovered the lifeless remains of 16 men and three women (another victim died later in hospital).

Asked about the massacre during his daily press conference on Monday, March 28, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) dismissed the incident, saying it was the “unfortunate” consequence of ongoing turf wars between two organized crime groups.

“The groups arrived and there they shot the attendees and unfortunately there were many deaths,” he said, in apparent reference to the Jalisco Nueva Generation Cartel (CJNG)which holds control of the territory, key in its communication with Jalisco, and the opposition United Cartels group.

“These gangs are operating there.”

So far this year, there have been nearly 40 mass murders in Mexico, and according to  2021 Atrocities Report, issued by the nonprofit Common Cause organization, last year there were a total of 529 mass murders.

In most of these cases, the massacres have been linked to warring drug cartels.

Meanwhile, AMLO continued to defend his “hugs, no bullets” soft-on-crime policies on Monday, despite the fact that violent crime rates continue to rise nationwide.

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