A highway in Pinos, Zacatecas, where six dead bodies were found. Photo: twitter.com/lopezmixteco

By MARK LORENZANA

Six people were killed and at least eight more were injured after armed men stormed a family party in the early-morning hours of Sunday, July 10, in León, the most populous city of the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, local authorities reported.

Individuals on board two motorcycles arrived, started shooting and then promptly fled the scene. Among those killed was a 17-year-old minor, while a 14-year-old girl was also hospitalized for gunshot wounds.

On Monday, July 11, the Mexican daily newspaper Reforma reported that during the first six months of this year, at least 306 people were killed in 42 mass murders in Mexico, wherein five or more victims are murdered in the same incident.

The massacres, according to the Reforma report, took place in 16 Mexican states, with most of the cases happening in Zacatecas, Michoacán and Guanajuato, which registered six multi-murders each. Next were Guerrero and Chihuahua, with five and four registered cases of massacres, respectively.

The most recent incident that involved multiple killings happened on June 24 of this year, during a shoot-out in El Salto, Guadalajara, between elements of the municipal police and alleged hit men, which left four police officers and eight gunmen dead.

The most prominent multiple killings were the murders of two Jesuit priests and a local tourist guide in the municipality of Urique, in the northern state of Chihuahua, on June 23. The massacre prompted Jesuit leaders in the country to label Mexico “a failed state,” and pressured the administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to put an end to the mounting violence.

In addition, in April of this year, six bodies with obvious signs of torture were found in Pinos, Zacatecas, a town near the state border with San Luis Potosí. And in what was considered Mexico’s largest massacre so far of 2022 — believed to be the result of a gang war — in February of this year an estimated 17 people were summarily executed outside a funeral home in San José de Gracia, Michoacán, a town bordering Jalisco. The bodies later disappeared from the streets, and a gunfight between various armed groups ensued.

López Obrador has repeatedly said that, under his watch, there are no longer any mass murders in the country. In September 2020, in one of his daily morning press conferences, AMLO boldly proclaimed that mass killings no longer existed in Mexico.

“There are no more tortures, disappearances or massacres,” López Obrador said. “Human rights are respected and the guilty are punished, whoever they are.”

That same month, López Obrador asked to review the front page of Reforma, and came across a report of 45 massacres so far that year.

“Look, there they are, the massacres,” López Obrador said, and laughed.

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