MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Eleven bodies were found near a tourist area in the Mexican state of Veracruz on Wednesday, a day after the government said it would send federal police to calm one of the most violent regions of the country.
The bodies of nine men and two women, some with traces of torture, were scattered inside and near a vehicle which had been reported stolen, the state’s new governor said.
Two have been identified.
After years of falling homicide levels, Mexico is suffering a deteriorating security situation not seen since former president Felipe Calderon announced a war on drug gangs in 2007.
In 2016, more than 20,000 homicides were reported, the highest level registered since Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in 2012.
“The execution of 11 people in the suburbs between (the port of) Veracruz and Boca del Rio is an act of barbarism,” Governor Miguel Angel Yunes told reporters.
“It is a confrontation between groups of organized criminals, it is not (an attack) against the people of Veracruz.”
A message allegedly written by members of a criminal organization operating in the area was left near the bodies, Yunes added, but he did not give details.
The statement came a day after Yunes and Mexico’s Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said federal police would be sent to Veracruz to boost security, saying the government would restore calm to the state.
Veracruz is home to rival cartels including the Zetas and Jalisco New Generation, or CJNG, which dispute drug trafficking turf.
According to official data, 1,258 homicides were registered in the state last year, when an arrest warrant was issued for former governor Javier Duarte over allegations he was involved in organized crime and money laundering.
He has been on the run since October.
Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Natalie Schachar; Editing by James Dalgleish