Armed groups swarm through city in southern Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Dozens of heavily armed men swarmed through the Mexican colonial-era city of San Cristobal de las Casas, and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Wednesday that one person was killed in confrontations between two gangs.

López Obrador said the confrontation involved “two groups that are fighting for control of a market” in San Cristobal. The dispute apparently involved the control of contraband sold in the market.

It was unclear if either of the groups were drug gangs. López Obrador claimed that 75% of homicides in Mexico “are related to confrontations between gangs.”

Powerful drug cartels, and their disputes for territory, have fueled much of Mexico’s persistently high homicide rate. There were over 34,300 homicides in Mexico in 2021.

López Obrador said that in states where one gang is in undisputed control, there are few murders.

Frightened residents in San Cristobal de las Casas posted videos of the armed men Tuesday, showing organized squads of men carrying military-style rifles through the city.

San Cristobal de las Casas was briefly taken over by Indigenous Zapatista rebels during their 1994 uprising. The southern city is popular among tourists.

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