11 dead in Mexico after gun battle between rival groups

MEXICO CITY - Eleven people are dead following a two-hour gunfight between two rival self-defence groups, authorities said late Tuesday.

The commissioner of Security for the western state of Michoacan, Alfredo Castillo, said that the violence emerged from “a situation of historic rivalry” between two vigilant groups in La Ruana, a town located about 870 miles west of Mexico City. 

Five members of a self-defence group led by Hipolito Mora were killed while six followers of a rival group were also killed. The second group was headed by Luis Antonio Torres, also known as ‘’Simon, the American.”

Castillo said Mora’s son was among those killed during the clash that began about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Authorities did not provide any details about a possible cause for the gunfight, but Castillo said experts from the attorney general’s office were investigating to put piece together the events.

“As it occurred during the night, it is difficult to do a meticulous analysis of the scene of the crime,” he said. “Experts are recollecting cartridges. Autopsy will be proceeded on the corpses.”

Self-defense groups began to form in February 2013 after locals decided to fight back against drug cartels.

But disputes soon emerged between two vigilante groups that accused each other of having been infiltrated by members of organized crime groups they are fighting against.

At the start of 2014, President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration tried in vain to control the self-defense groups by registering their weapons and incorporating members into local police forces.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency