16 killed in Christmas-season shootings in central Mexico state of Guanajuato

Police officers are positioned outside the site of a party where, according to local media, an armed group opened fire on partygoers attending a posada, a traditional Mexican party held in the days leading up to Christmas, in Salvatierra, Guanajuato state, Mexico December 17, 2023, in this screen grab obtained from social media video.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Gunmen attacked a Christmas season party early on December 17, killing a dozen people in the town of Salvatierra in Mexico’s north-central State of Guanajuato, prosecutors said.

State prosecutors also reported that four other people died in a shooting in the city of Salamanca, but did not describe the circumstances of that attack.

Local media said the victims in Salvatierra were leaving an event hall following a Christmas party known as a “posada” when they were gunned down.

Guanajuato has been the scene of bloody turf battles between the Jalisco cartel and local gangs backed by the Sinaloa cartel. The State has long had the highest number of homicides in Mexico.

Meanwhile, in the Caribbean coast resort of Tulum, three men were shot to death and four people were wounded in an attack at a bar on Dec. 17, authorities said.

Quintana Roo state prosecutors said a preliminary investigation indicated the shooting “may have been a dispute involving retail drug sales, and for that reason the safety of the public and that of our visitors, was never at risk.”

But shootouts between local drug gangs in Tulum have killed tourists who were caught in the crossfire in the past.

In 2021 in Tulum, two tourists — one a California travel blogger born in India and the other German — were killed while eating at a restaurant. They apparently were caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between rival drug dealers.

Early this year, the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert warning travellers to “exercise increased situational awareness” especially after dark, at Mexico’s Caribbean beach resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

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