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Deadly violence breaks Mexico murder record

June 22, 2017

Murder probes in Mexico reached a record high in May, according to data released by the government. Authorities have placed part of the blame on growing fighting between drug cartels vying for power.

Mexican police guard an area following a gun battle between cartels and federal authorities (AP Photo/Chris Arias)
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/C. Arias

Violence in Mexico hit a new high in May, with the number of murder investigations breaking a record, according to official data published this week.

Last month, authorities recorded 2,186 murder probes, the highest amount for any month dating back to 1997, when the government began tallying figures. Several of the probes likely include multiple homicides.

Read more: Mexico newspaper shuts down citing rampant threats to journalists

The number of murder victims reported in May also broke a record, marking the highest recorded in a separate series of data dating back to 2014.

According to authorities, murder investigations totaled 9,916 cases in the first five months of this year, marking a nearly 30-percent increase from the same period last year.

@dwnews - Mexican journalists mourn murdered colleague Javier Valdez

Murders soar after 'El Chapo' arrest

Officials have placed part of the blame on the soaring number of murders sweeping across the country on drug cartels vying to fill the void left by the arrest and extradition of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Guzman, who was extradited to the US in January, stands accused of leading Mexico's notorious Sinaloa cartel, known for major cross-border drug-trafficking operations and violent attacks against rivals and security forces.#

Read more: US judge rules 'El Chapo' must remain in solitary confinement

Shocking violence

Many Mexican citizens have blamed President Enrique Pena Nieto for failing to provide security. During Pena Nieto's tenure, 43 teachers-in-training disappeared from the city of Iguala in 2014, a tragedy that shocked the nation.

Mexico's murder rate hit 16.35 per 100,000 people in 2015, according to figures published by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

In comparison, Germany's murder rate in 2014 stood at 0.9 per 100,000 people, according to World Bank data.

#DWmypic: In Mexico, journalism can get you killed

ls/cmk (Reuters, EFE)