29 die as Mexican drug gangs clash

A gun battle between rival drug gangs in western Mexico has left 29 men dead.

A gun battle between rival drug gangs in western Mexico has left 29 men dead.

Their bullet-ridden bodies in fake military uniforms were heaped across a roadway and inside bullet-riddled vehicles.

They were found scattered around 14 shot-up pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, two of which had bullet-proofing.

Television images of the scene near the town of Ruiz showed what appeared to have been a convoy of cartel vehicles that had been ambushed by another column of gunmen on a stretch of rural highway.

Military-style boots, bulletproof vests, hand grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition were also found at the scene.

The army said two suspects wounded in the battle were found at the scene.

It said that around the same time on Wednesday, soldiers engaged in a shootout with armed suspects in a town about 35 miles (60 kilometres) north of Ruiz. Two suspects – a man and a woman – were killed in that confrontation.

Nayarit and the nearby states of Michoacan and Zacatecas have become battlegrounds for drug cartels fighting for control of the area.

The Sinaloa drug cartel, Mexico’s most powerful, has long been active in Nayarit, but it has recently been challenged by remnants of the Beltran Leyva cartel and the Zetas.

In Michoacan, officials said more than 700 people fled their villages amid fighting between rival drug traffickers.

Michoacan state Civil Defence Director Carlos Mandujano said the villagers were given refuge at five shelters.

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