A prison confrontation between members of two rival cartels spilled onto the streets of the border city of Ciudad Ju rez, where alleged gang members killed nine more people, including four employees of a radio station.
The violence started on Thursday when Los Chapos, members of the infamous Sinaloa cartel, formerly led by Joaqu n El Chapo Guzm n, clashed with the local group Los Mexicles in a Ju rez prison, the deputy security minister, Ricardo Mej a, said.
A riot then broke out, leaving two shot to death and four wounded with bullet wounds, Mej said, speaking at a regular news conference alongside Mexican President Andr s Manuel L pez Obrador. Another 16 were injured in the fighting, he said.
Officials did not say what caused the clash.
The Mexicles rampaged in the city after the riot, killing nine civilians, authorities said. There were four employees of a radio station, including one announcer, according to Mej.
L pez Obrador said that they attacked the civilian, innocent population like a form of revenge. It wasn't just the clash between two groups, but it got to the point in which they began to shoot civilians, innocent people. That is the most unfortunate thing in this affair. Mej said four employees of MegaRadio who were broadcasting a live promotional event outside a business were killed in the shooting.
Convenience stores were also shot and set on fire across town. FEMSA, the parent of Oxxo chain, said in a statement that one of its employees and a woman applying for a job were killed in the violence.
State Attorney General Roberto Fierro DuarteFierro Duarte said a boy wounded in a convenience store died at the hospital, two women were killed in a gas station convenience store and two other men were shot elsewhere in the city. Fierro said 10 suspects had been arrested.
On Friday morning, six alleged members of Mexicles were arrested by local police, with help from the army and national guard, Mej said.
Gangs like those involved in the riot often serve as proxies and street-level enforcers for Mexico's powerful drug cartels who aggressively exert control over the border crossing routes they need to move their product to the United States.
While still high, murders in recent years were well below what they were more than a decade ago — about 1,400 last year compared to more than 3,600 in 2010 — according to data from Molly Molloy, a retired border specialist at the New Mexico State University Library who has been tracking the city's homicide data for many years and posts regular updates to her Frontera List.
The violence came after drug cartel gunmen burned vehicles and businesses in the western states of Guanajuato and Jalisco after the arrest of a high-ranking cartel leader.
L pez Obrador, commonly known as Amlo, came to power with promises of hugs and not bullets, which he promised would reduce soaring murder rates in the country. Experts say that the strategy has only emboldened criminal groups to become more violent and expand territorial control across the country.