The latest wave of violence in the resort town of Acapulco left three people dead and ended in a fire that destroyed a supermarket, movie complex and stores in a shopping centre. Two gunmen and one soldier were killed in a shootout that started after police chanced upon a gang trying to set fire to the shopping centre. The incident is believed to have been drug related; the popular holiday destination has seen a marked increase in drug violence this year, despite claims from the city’s mayor that things aren’t as bad as they appear.
Indeed, Acapulco authorities claimed to have ended a gang war when they apprehended a cartel member suspected of being behind the murders of 22 people in January. Still, killings have steadily continued as rival drug cartels fight for control of the port city. Last month, 10 people were killed when gunmen opened fire in a nightclub. That same week, two young boys were shot dead as attackers chased a man through their house. Overall in Mexico, an estimated 35,000 people have been murdered in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderón declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.