Mayhem in Mexico border town leaves at least 20 dead

Site of gang ‘battle’ close to where US president Donald Trump is due to arrive on visit

A police agent keeps watch atop a truck at a checkpoint in the northern border state of Tamaulipas. File photograph: Daniel Becerril/Reuters

A police agent keeps watch atop a truck at a checkpoint in the northern border state of Tamaulipas. File photograph: Daniel Becerril/Reuters

 

Mexican authorities are investigating a battle between two suspected gangs that left at least 20 dead, 17 of them burned, in a border town near where US president Donald Trump will visit on Thursday to win support for his plan to build a wall.

Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said initial information pointed to a “battle between two groups” and that security officials would later provide further information.

Mr Trump is headed to McAllen, Texas, on the US border. He has threatened to declare a national emergency if Congress does not meet his demand for billions of dollars to build the contentious border wall.

He has justified that demand by saying that undocumented migrants, criminals and illegal drugs have been pouring across the border, although statistics show illegal immigration has fallen to a 20-year low, while many drugs are believed to enter through legal ports of entry.

A Mexican security official said that authorities discovered the 20 dead outside Ciudad Miguel Aleman, which is about 90km (56 miles) from McAllen, across the Rio Grande river. Five burned vehicles were also found near the bodies, said the security official.

Tamaulipas has become one of the most violent states in Mexico. It is convulsed by gangs fighting to control drug trafficking, extortion rackets and the exploitation of migrants.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Mexico during years of fighting between security forces and warring drug cartels. – Reuters