Fifteen killed in northern Mexican bar shootout

CIUDAD JUAREZ Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:12pm EDT

Police stand outside a bar where 15 people had been killed in Chihuahua April 20, 2012. Fifteen people were killed and at least one seriously wounded in a suspected drug-related shootout on Friday in a bar in northern Mexico, a region that has been brutalized by fighting between criminal gangs. Armed men entered the bar in Chihuahua, capital of Chihuaha state, and opened fire on a group of people inside suspected of involvement in drug dealing, the local attorney general's office said in a statement on Saturday. Picture taken April 20, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

Police stand outside a bar where 15 people had been killed in Chihuahua April 20, 2012. Fifteen people were killed and at least one seriously wounded in a suspected drug-related shootout on Friday in a bar in northern Mexico, a region that has been brutalized by fighting between criminal gangs. Armed men entered the bar in Chihuahua, capital of Chihuaha state, and opened fire on a group of people inside suspected of involvement in drug dealing, the local attorney general's office said in a statement on Saturday. Picture taken April 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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CIUDAD JUAREZ (Reuters) - Fifteen people were killed and at least one seriously wounded in a suspected drug-related shootout on Friday in a bar in northern Mexico, a region that has been brutalized by fighting between criminal gangs.

On Friday night, armed men entered the bar in Chihuahua, capital of Chihuahua state, and opened fire on various people inside suspected of involvement in drug dealing, the local attorney general's office said in a statement on Saturday.

A local press association said two men killed in the attack were journalists, adding to the tally of media casualties from Mexico's rampant gang violence.

The attorney general's office also said two other people were shot dead in a separate bar attack in the city, bringing Friday's death toll to 17.

Since 2008, Chihuahua, and in particular the city of Ciudad Juarez on the border with Texas, has been the area worst hit by bloody turf wars between drug cartels during the crackdown on gangs launched by President Felipe Calderon.

The gang violence and clashes with security forces have killed more than 50,000 people in Mexico in the past five years.

However, the number of murders had eased somewhat in Chihuahua over the past year, with some counts suggesting the more easterly border state of Nuevo Leon had suffered more violence in the first months of 2012.

(Reporting by Julian Cardona; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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