MEXICO CITY – Six people have been killed and two others wounded in clashes between rival criminal factions in the northern Mexican border city of Reynosa, a spokesman for the Tamaulipas state government told EFE on Thursday.
The incidents began Tuesday night, Luis Alberto Rodriguez said, adding that two of the fatalities were the result of confrontations between gunmen and army troops.
The criminals – described as members of feuding groups within the Gulf drug cartel – took 19 vehicles from their owners at gunpoint for use as barricades, the spokesman said.
Soldiers and marines deployed against the criminals seized nine vehicles, weapons, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Reynosa, which lies just across the border from McAllen, Texas, has been calm since Wednesday night, Rodriguez said, crediting frequent patrols by the security forces and the establishment of police outposts across the metropolitan area.
He acknowledged, however, that many residents remain afraid to leave their homes, a situation he said was due in part to the spread of misinformation via social media.
The spokesman urged the public to be “on alert” and to maintain regular contact with family members.
People should seek information from reliable sources and take care to avoid risky situations, he said.
Authorities say that the power struggle inside the Gulf cartel erupted after the organization’s erstwhile top man in Reynosa, Juan Manuel Loza, was killed in a clash with marines.
Tamaulipas Gov. Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, who took office last October, has called on Mexico’s federal government to develop a comprehensive strategy against organized crime.
“To neutralize relevant or priority objectives will not accomplish anything” without targeting criminals’ sources of income, such as protection rackets, illegal gambling, theft of fuel from pipelines, and human trafficking, Rodriguez said.