Nine killed in gun attack on wake in central Mexico

By Staff and agencies in Mexico City

Nine people have been killed and one wounded when gunmen opened fire at a wake in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, in one of the worst outbreaks of violence to hit the country during the past few weeks.

Public safety officials in the city of Celaya said in a statement the gunmen arrived late on Thursday night. Local press reported that the wake was held for a man murdered a day earlier.

Heavy, rapid gunfire could be heard ringing out in video footage shot close to the attack which was widely shared on social media, and images from the scene showed bodies strewn in the street.

Guanajuato is at the center of the bloody turf war between rival organized crime groups. There was no immediate report of who was responsible for the killings. Thousands have been killed in Guanajuato since the local Santa Rosa de Lima gang faced off with the ultra-violent Jalisco New Generation cartel in 2017.

Authorities captured the leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima gang in August, but the bloodshed has continued.

The Santa Rosa gang grew up in a farming hamlet of the same name by stealing fuel from government pipelines and refineries and robbing freight from trains. But after authorities stepped up security around trains and pipelines over the last two years, the gang turned to extortion and kidnapping.

The Jalisco New Generation cartel has been Mexico’s most violent in recent years, aggressively expanding its reach across the country through bold attacks against its rivals and government forces.

Their conflict has made Guanajuato – home to San Miguel Allende, a popular retirement spot for Americans – Mexico’s deadliest state.

In September, gunmen killed 11 people in a bar in Jaral del Progreso near the border with Michoacán state. More than two dozen people were killed in an unregistered drug rehabilitation center in Irapuato in July.