Gunmen attack Mexican border bar, killing 5

AP News
Posted: Apr 02, 2011 7:44 PM
Gunmen attack Mexican border bar, killing 5

Gunmen shot up a bar and then threw in fire bombs, killing three men and two women in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, an official said Saturday. The deaths came a day after a shooting attack on another bar in the city caused 10 deaths.

A motive had not been determined and it was unclear if the victims died of bullet wounds, burns or smoke inhalation, Chihuahua state prosecutors' spokesman Arturo Sandoval said. He said the bodies were charred by the fire started by the gasoline bombs at the Barritas bar late Friday

Sandoval said police found .223-caliber shell casings at the scene, a type frequently used by gunmen for drug gangs.

Some 6,000 people have died in drug cartel turf battles the past two years in Ciudad Juarez, which sits across the border from El Paso, Texas.

About 24 hours before the bloodshed at the Barritas bar, three car loads of gunmen attacked the El Castillo bar in Ciudad Juarez, killing 10 people. Authorities said at least 130 shots were fired.

On Saturday, the government reported that 8,898 bodies have been left unidentified since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug cartels in late 2006, although the total included deaths from all causes and not just violence. Drug violence has been blamed for more than 34,000 deaths since late 2006.

The government's National Human Rights Commission said some of the bodies had been the victims of accidents or died alone of natural causes, but it added that many were victims of violence, without giving specific numbers. It has become common for police to find pits containing the remains of drug-violence victims, some too badly decomposed to be identified.

The commission also said there have been 5,397 cases of unsolved disappearances in Mexico since 2006. Some may have been kidnapped for ransom or could have disappeared and still be alive, the report said. But drug cartels also frequently kidnap and kill people they see as threats, and have branched out into kidnapping for ransom.

In the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco on Saturday, state police found a man's decapitated head on a sidewalk and parts of his dismembered body scattered nearby.

A day earlier, police reported finding first the torso, then the head and severed limbs of another man in another spot in the city.

Acapulco has also been the scene of bloody drug gang battles. The second set of remains was found accompanied by handwritten messages of the kind frequently left by drug cartels, police said.