Mexico/Organised crime: 18 killed as drug gangs attack army bases

Mexican authorities said that the army had gunned down 18 suspected drug gang members on Tuesday when the latter tried to blockade two army garrisons in the Mexican border states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon. One Mexican soldier was reportedly wounded during the gun battle.

General Edgar Luis Villegas said on Wednesday that attackers had carried out seven separate attacks on the army, including three blockades. He said the attacks were “desperate reactions by criminal gangs to the progress being made by federal authorities” against Mexico’s drug cartels.

Villegas said a gun battle broke out when gunmen parked trucks and SUVs outside a military base in the border city ofReynosa trying to block troops from leaving the camp. The attackers also blocked several streets leading to a garrison in the nearby border city of Matamoros.

According to the army General, another gang of armed men opened fire from several vehicles on soldiers guarding a federal highway in General Bravo, in Nuevo Leon state. Troops retaliated and killed 18 of the assailants while arresting seven other suspects. In addition, 54 rifles, 61 hand grenades, several rocket-propelled grenades, eight homemade explosive devices and six bullet-proofed vehicles, used by the attackers, were seized.