CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) — A raging gun battle between rival Mexican drug gangs near the U.S. border left eight people dead and a string of burned-out armored trucks littering a roadway.
Residents of the northern border state of Tamaulipas said the gun battles occurred Saturday and continued into Sunday in the hamlet of Santa Rosalia, located in the border township of Camargo. The residents asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.
They said burned bodies were found lying in or near the burned out trucks, at least three of which had welded steel plates that served as improvised armor.
They said police and soldiers only ventured into the area in the daytime over the weekend, but that the cartel gunmen re-emerged at night to continue their battle.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the gun battle was between two rival gangs, and that “many people” had been killed in the confrontation. The area has long been disputed between the Northeast cartel, a remnant of the old Zetas gang, and the Gulf cartel.
The area is not far from where 19 people, including 16 Guatemalan migrants, were killed in January. Twelve state police officers face charges in those killings.
The two cartels have often employed home-made armored vehicles in the turf war, which has run for more than a decade.