Gunfire and firefights erupted in western Mexico on Sunday as hundreds of vigilantes pressed forward in their fight over territory with a drug cartel, as Mexico’s top security officials prepared to make yet another effort to try to stop the violence.
Members of so-called ‘self-defense groups’ entered the town of Nueva Italia on a campaign they say is designed to liberate towns from the control of the Knights Templar cartel.
Opponents and critics say the vigilantes are backed by a rival cartel, however the groups vehemently deny any connection.
State Government official Fausto Vallejo gave a brief statement on the issue, saying he has formally asked the federal government for more help to quell the violence, and announced a meeting on Monday in the state capital to lay out a strategy to reclaim the peace.
Hundreds of vigilantes arrived in Nueva Italia late Sunday morning in a cavalry of large trucks, surrounding the City Hall and disarming local police.