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Targeted massacre in Mexico leaves eleven family members dead

A deadly shooting in central Mexico has killed 11 members of one family, including two young girls. Authorities have said the attacks may have been religiously motivated, but have not ruled out organized crime.

Gunmen in a remote mountain community in Mexico shot to death 11 members of the same family and wounded two others, announced officials on Friday.

The attacks targeted a couple, their children, and other relatives, leaving five women, four men, and two young girls dead in the village El Mirador located in Puebla state.

"Two other minors were badly wounded and taken to the hospital," said Vicente Lopez de la Vega, the mayor of the town of Coxcatlan, which oversees El Mirador.

Initial reports indicate that "people arrived on foot where the family was located, fired several times and left on foot," said the Puebla state prosecutor's office in a statement. They also said the two injured children were girls.

The prosecutors added that two witnesses survived the attack and were under government protection.

Possible religious motive

Lopez de la Vega said the village's Evangelical inhabitants broke away from a neighboring Roman Catholic village and that there had been disagreements between the hamlets. However, he was hesitant to rule out other possible motives.

"It would be adventurous to say that the motive of the murder was religion. We don't know of any persecution. It could be family issues or organized crime," Lopez de la Vega said.

"It's a community in harmony, but things change. There's immigration. Many go to the north of the country and to the United States. Sometimes when people come back the harmony is lost," he said.

If the religious motivation is confirmed, the shooting would be the deadliest religion-motivated incident in recent years.

The area around El Mirador has not been hit as hard by the drug-related violence plaguing much of Mexico. However, land and water disputes often pit evangelical converts against Catholics.

rs/jm (AP, AFP, dpa)

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