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Gunmen kill mayor of border town in Mexico drug war

CIUDAD JUAREZ (Reuters) - Gunmen killed the mayor of a Mexican town near the U.S. border that is located in the no-man’s land of the country’s violent drug war, police said on Sunday.

Two weeks ahead of state and local elections, armed men on Saturday shot Jesus Manuel Lara, mayor of Guadalupe Distrito Bravo, which is near the border city of Ciudad Juarez, federal police spokesman Jose Ramon Salinas told Reuters.

Lara was killed at his home in Ciudad Juarez, local media reported.

Ciudad Juarez, a manufacturing city once known for its wild night life, has become the bloodiest front in President Felipe Calderon’s war against drug smugglers.

More than 5,500 people have been killed in the city since 2008 as the powerful Juarez cartel fights the Sinaloa alliance for control of trafficking routes.

Calderon has staked his political future on reining in the drug killings and has sent 8,000 soldiers and federal police to the Ciudad Juarez area alone to try to defeat the cartels.

But the area outside the city’s manufacturing zone, including Guadalupe Distrito Bravo, is rapidly becoming a no-man’s land. Despite an army presence, people are abandoning towns, while politicians have been too scared to campaign for the upcoming elections.

Last year, at least two other municipal officials were killed in Guadalupe Distrito Bravo.

Reporting by Julian Cardona; Editing by Will Dunham