MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Ten people were killed in a gunfight in western Mexico when suspected gang members ambushed a police convoy in one of the deadliest attacks on security forces since Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December 2012.
Five members of Mexico’s new militarized police, or gendarmerie, were killed in the shootout on Thursday night in Ocotlan, Jalisco state, and eight others were wounded, the National Security Commission said in a statement on Friday.
Two bystanders who apparently had nothing to do with the ambush and three suspected gang members were also killed. Units of the gendarmerie were patrolling the town southeast of the state capital Guadalajara, the commission said.
At least 10 vehicles took part in the attack on police, with the assailants firing with high-powered rifles before being beaten back, the security commission said.
Some of the attackers then fled.
Police confiscated seven firearms and four fragmentation grenades at the scene, as well as five vehicles believed to have belonged to the assailants, the government said.
Jalisco has been plagued by fighting between the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel and the Knights Templar, a drug gang from the neighboring state of Michoacan that has been gradually weakened by the capture or killing of its leaders.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in gang-related violence in Mexico over the past eight years.
Bringing peace to Mexico was President Enrique Pena Nieto’s first promise when he took office in 2012. The gendarmerie was unveiled to spearhead the government’s efforts to restore order. It began operating last summer, albeit on a smaller scale than first envisaged.
Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Grant McCool