The battle to ‘free’ Mexican town from drug gangs: Huge firefight breaks out as vigilantes take on Knights Templar cartel

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.

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