The federal police at the entrance of the ranch El sol, Mexico. – Eduardo Verdugo / AP / SIPA

20 Minutes with AFP

At least 43 people, including 42 gunmen and one federal police officer, were killed Friday in clashes in western Mexico, announced a federal official. “The provisional toll is 42 alleged offenders and a federal police officer” dead in the clashes that occurred in the locality of Tanhuato in Michoacan state, about 500 kilometers from Mexico City, the official said on condition of anonymity

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A previous review reported 37 civilians and two armed federal police officers killed. According to the governor of Michoacan, Salvador Jara, clashes began after security forces came under fire from a suspect vehicle they had stopped. The armed men on board were then cut on a ranch nearby, where there have been several exchanges of fire with the police.

One of the worst clashes since 2006

“According to a preliminary report, those who attacked the federal forces were very numerous and had a lot of weapons,” said Salvador Jara to Radio Formula, indicating not yet able to give a definitive assessment. Friday night, the ranch called “El Sol” and located on the border between the states of Michoacan and Jalisco, was guarded by some 500 military and federal police.

Salvador Jara, “it is very likely “that the armed men who opened fire are part of the drug trafficking cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (Jalisco New Generation), which became the number one enemy of the Mexican government in recent months.

The Friday’s clash was one of the worst ever known in Mexico since the launch in late 2006 by Felipe Calderon, then president of a major military offensive against the cartels. The state of Michoacan was included in the list of priority states of this new security strategy and remains a challenge for Mexican security forces.

A leftist candidate in municipal elections murdered last week

The locality of Tanhuato, which has 15,000 inhabitants, is close to Yurecuaro, also in Michoacan, where a leftist candidate in municipal elections, former head of a Mexican self-defense militia, was killed the week last at an election meeting.

Tanhuato is also close to the border of the State of Jalisco, where the government has deployed a heavy military operation against Jalisco Nueva Generacion. More than 80,000 people have been killed and 23,000 are missing since the start of the anti-drug Felipe Calderon’s military offensive, which was continued by his successor, Enrique Peña Nieto, who came to power in 2012.