Panic grips Mexico border city after violence, Coercion leaves 18 dead

Mexico: Panic gripped the Mexican border city of Reynosa after gunmen in vehicles killed 14 people, including taxis drivers, workers and a nursing student, and security forces responded with operations that left four suspects dead.

The attacks triggered on June 19 afternoon in several neighborhoods in eastern Reynosa, which borders the Texas city of McAllen, according to the Tamaulipas state agency that coordinates security forces. Images posted on social media showed bodies in the streets.

While this city across the border from McAllen, Texas is used to cartel violence as a key trafficking point, the 14 victims in Saturday’s attacks appeared to be what Tamaulipas Gov. Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca called “innocent citizens” rather than members of one gang killed by a rival.

Local businessman Misael Chavarria Garza said many businesses closed early Saturday after the attacks and people were very scared as helicopters flew overhead. On Sunday, he said “the people were quiet as if nothing had happened, but with a feeling of anger because now crime has happened to innocent people.” “It’s not fair,” said taxi driver Rene Guevara, adding that among the dead were two of his fellow taxi drivers whom he defended and said were not involved in crime.

Experts say there has been an internal struggle within the group since 2017 to control key territories for drug and human trafficking. Apparently, one cell from a nearby town may have entered Reynosa to carry out the attacks.

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