Mexico City (dpa) – An estimated 7,048 people have been killed in
Mexico’s drug wars this year, the government said Friday.
About 24,826 have died in incidents related to organized crime
since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006.
The death toll was made public by Attorney General Arturo Chavez
at a press conference Friday, based on a count by the National
Security Cabinet. The figures include deaths from clashes between
rival drug gangs and also from encounters between alleged criminals
and security forces, Chavez said.
He noted that the increased presence of federal troops across the
country has led many gangs to split up or lose control of their
territory, or to move to different areas where they face opposition
from local criminals who used to be in control there.
Actions by security forces are “forcing organizations to change
their strategy,” Chavez said.
In Ciudad Juarez, regarded as Mexico’s most violent city with
2,660 organized-crime deaths last year, “the gangs are killing each
other wherever they find each other,” Chavez said.
He said the intervention by security forces was necessary to put a
brake on spiralling crime, and that the government’s decisions on the
issue had been “correct,” even though it will take time to solve the
For now, he added, the government is trying to combat the social,
economic and other issues that make “so many young people willing to
get involved in organized crime.”
Since 2006, some 78,000 people have been arrested in Mexico on
drug-trafficking charges, while 400 justice officials have been
sacked for their alleged complicity with the gangs.