UPDATE 1-Three police among five shot dead in southwestern Mexico

Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:44pm EDT

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MEXICO CITY, March 23 (Reuters) - Five people, including three off-duty federal police officers, were shot dead on Friday night in the city of Altamirano, in Mexico's southwestern Guerrero state.

The officers were pursued by gunmen while walking to a local bank, and were killed after seeking refuge in a nearby hotel, an official with the federal police said.

Police initially told Reuters the shooting took place early on Saturday, but later corrected the account.

On Saturday, the bodies of seven unidentified men were discovered in the city of Uruapan, in Michoacan state, just north of Guerrero state.

The bodies were found sitting on plastic chairs, some with their hands and feet bound, just outside a Pepsi bottling plant, the state prosecutor's office said.

Written messages were attached to two of the bodies, warning that would-be criminals would face more violence, but they did not identify those responsible for the killings.

An estimated 70,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico in the past seven years.

President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in December, has vowed to quell the lawlessness and killing that have stained Mexico's image as a tourist destination and rattled investors.

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