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Mass grave uncovered in Mexico

The bodies of more than a dozen people has been found near a town in one of Mexico's most dangerous regions. The sinister discovery highlighted the plight of southern Mexicans caught between fighting among drug cartels.

A mass grave containing at least 17 bodies was found in the city of Chichihualco, Mexican authorities announced on Tuesday. Police said they were discovered in a ravine between December 8 and 11, but that it was too soon to determine the age, gender, and cause of death for the victims.

Chichihualco is known for the handcrafted soccer balls it produces, but it happens to lie in the southwestern Guerrero state, now more famiiliar to many for violence than for the artisanal handicrafts and beautiful beaches that made it famous.

Lying on an important part of the cocaine trafficking route between South America and the United States, Guerrero is a flashpoint for warring cartels as local drug gangs have begun planting their own poppy fields in remote, mountainous areas of the state.

Mexico's drug war has left some 26,000 people missing across the country - and hundreds of them are from Guerrero. Clandestine graves dug by the cartels are often unearthed with multiple bodies inside.

The most famous disappearance in Guerrero came in September of 2014, when 43 trainee teachers who had been protesting the unfair distribution of classroom posts were abducted and killed by corrupt police in the city of Iguala. The police then allegedly handed them over to a local gang that incinerated the bodies.

Authorities speaking on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press that the 17 bodies discovered on Tuesday had been dumped, not buried, anywhere from one month to a year and a half ago. The police said they hoped they could finally provide solace to the families of some 200 people in Guerrero who have coped with relatives' disappearance in recent years.

es/gsw (AP, AFP)

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