Eleven killed in gunfight in southwest Mexico

ACAPULCO, Mexico Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:07pm EDT

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ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) - Ten suspected drug gang members and a soldier died in a gunfight in southwestern Mexico early on Wednesday, the victims of mounting violence in the state of Guerrero.

State prosecutors in Guerrero said the firefight began after an armed group ambushed soldiers on patrol in Tepecoacuilco, near to the city of Taxco. One woman was among the dead.

It was not clear which gang the attackers belonged to.

Guerrero, a poor state that is home to beach resort Acapulco, has been one of the areas worst affected by warring drug gangs. Last year, the government sent in military reinforcements to restore order there, but after initial successes, the violence has started to rise again.

There were 225 murders in Guerrero in August, the heaviest monthly toll in a year, according to police figures.

On Monday, units of the army and federal police arrested 18 local police in Taxco on suspicion of links to organized crime.

Over the past six years, around 60,000 people in Mexico have died in the fighting between drug gangs and their clashes with security forces, rattling tourists and investors.

Reducing the criminal violence is one of the biggest challenges awaiting Enrique Pena Nieto, who will replace Felipe Calderon as president of Mexico on December 1.

(Reporting by Luis Enrique Martinez; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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