Sunday, May 04, 2008

Ranchers killed in Mexico attack

Gunmen have killed at least nine people and injured six more in an attack on a cattle ranch in southern Mexico, authorities have said.

At least 40 people launched the attack outside the home of a prominent cattle breeder in Guerrero state, police said.

It was the second attack to target ranchers in as many days. On Saturday at least seven people died in another shooting in the same state.

Guerrero has experienced a wave of violence blamed on drug cartels.

The ranch in Petatlan attacked on Sunday belongs to Rogaciano Alba Alvarez, the head of the Guerrero cattlemen's association.

Officials said the gunmen drove up to the ranch in pick-up trucks early on Sunday morning before opening fire.

A day earlier, at least seven ranchers attending a meeting of the cattlemen's association in the city of Iguala were killed.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy reports from Mexico City that the motive for the attack on Mr Alba is not clear.

But the scale of both attacks and the firepower used suggest clear links to organised crime, he says.

In the past three years, Mexico has been the setting for a violent confrontation between drug cartels and government forces in which nearly 6,000 people have died.

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