Mexico gunfight near Texas border leaves over a dozen dead

Villa Union

CITY (AP) - Mexican security forces fought an hour-long gun gunbattle Saturday with suspected cartel gunmen in Villa Union, a town in Coahuila state about an hour's drive southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas, leaving at least 14 people dead, officials said.

Four police were also killed and six wounded in the shootouts, which stunned residents of the town around midday on Saturday, sparking alarm on social media and fresh criticism of the government's approach to handling the powerful gangs.

He also said then that several municipal workers were missing.

The gunmen peppered the Villa Union's mayor's office with bullets and state police pursued the gang members after they fled the town, killing seven more in the early hours of Sunday, the Coahuila government said in a statement.

The Coahuila State Government said in a statement that police, aided by helicopters, were still chasing remnants of the force, which left bullet-riddled trucks marked CDN - initials of the Cartel of the Northeast gang - abandoned in the streets.

Videos of the shootout posted on social media showed burned out vehicles and the facade of Villa Union's municipal office riddled with bullets.

The gunmen descended on the small town of Villa Union, about 27 miles from the border with the United States, in 14 vehicles some of which were outfitted with Barrett machine guns, El Universal cited Riquelme Solis as saying.

Lopez Obrador said Mexico would handle the problem, a view echoed by Riquelme as he spoke to reporters. While pledging to act decisively against the gangs, he said that Mexico needed "collaboration and cooperation", not intervention from overseas.

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The governor said he believed the gunmen were members of the Cartel of the Northeast, which is from Tamaulipas state to the east.

In an interview on November 26, Trump told former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly: "I don't want to say what I'm going to do, but they will be designated".

Lopez Obrador said on Friday he would not accept foreign intervention in Mexico to deal with the cartels in response to Trump's comments earlier in the week.

Lopez Obrador took office a year ago pledging to bring peace after more than a decade of gang-fuelled violence. "We're a sovereign, free country", the 66-year-old veteran leftist said in Mexico City's Zocalo central square.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr is due to visit Mexico next week to discuss cooperation over security.

Mexico's murder rate has increased to historically high levels, inching up by 2 per cent in the first 10 months of the presidency of Mr Obrador.

Coahuila state itself has been far from the worst-hit part of Mexico amid violence in recent years.

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