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29 inmates, 15 federal officers die in Mexico

Associated Press / June 15, 2010

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MEXICO CITY — At least 29 inmates were killed yesterday as rival gangs clashed inside a prison in the cartel-plagued Mexican state of Sinaloa, authorities said. Three policemen guarding the prison were wounded. And elsewhere, gunmen killed 15 federal police officers in separate attacks, marking one of the bloodiest days for security forces since the government stepped up its fight with drug rings.

Inside the prison in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, 20 inmates were shot to death when a group of prisoners opened fire on members of a rival gang, Josefina Garcia, state public safety secretary, told Radio Formula. One of the three wounded guards was in serious condition, Garcia said.

The gang that initiated the attack killed 17 rivals and lost three of its own members.

Hours later, eight more prisoners were stabbed to death by other inmates, said Angeles Moreno, state Public Safety Department spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, twelve federal police officers died in an ambush near a high school in the western state of Michoacán, while assailants killed three officers in the northern city of Chihuahua.

The latest in a series of mass slayings occurred as President Felipe Calderón defended his crackdown on traffickers in an essay on his office’s website.

In the ambush in Michoacán, officers riding in four pickup were returning from a patrol when they came under fire in the city of Zitacuaro, the federal Public Safety Department said in a statement

Ten officers died on the spot and two more on the way to a hospital. Thirteen officers were wounded.

In a statement, the Michoacán Public Safety Department said gunmen killed three federal officers in Chihuahua. One officer was wounded.

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