Drug shootouts spur travel warning for Nogales, rest of Mexico
Gov't cites drug cartel violence
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico, citing a rise in violence throughout the country.
Nogales, Son. and other border cities are listed in the alert as where most of the violence has occurred.
"Some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades," the alert says.
Large firefights have taken place in towns and cities across Mexico but occur mostly in northern Mexico, including Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Chihuahua City, Nogales, Matamoros, Reynosa and Monterrey.
During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area.
Nogales, Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana also have had "public shootouts during daylight hours in shopping centers and other public venues," according to the alert.
The alert, dated Monday, stops short of telling U.S. citizens to avoid traveling in Mexico but urges them to be aware of the increase in violence related to drug cartels, that include two U.S. citizens being abducted and murdered in Chihuahua. It will be in effect until Aug. 20.
The Latin American Herald Tribune reports:
The multisided conflict has claimed more than 17,000 lives in a little more than three years.
Drug cartels and associated criminal elements have retaliated violently against individuals who speak out against them or whom they otherwise view as a threat to their organization.
Says the State Department:
U.S. citizens are urged to be alert to safety and security concerns when visiting the border region. Criminals are armed with a wide array of sophisticated weapons. In some cases, assailants have worn full or partial police or military uniforms and have used vehicles that resemble police vehicles. While most crime victims are Mexican citizens, the uncertain security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well. U.S. citizen victims of crime in Mexico are urged to contact the consular section of the nearest U.S. consulate or Embassy for advice and assistance.