Drug shootouts close U.S. consulate in Reynosa, Mexico
The U.S. has closed its consulate in the Mexican city of Reynosa after a series of gunfights between soldiers and drug gangs.
The border city is across from McAllen, Texas.
From the Associated Press:
Four suspected cartel gunmen were killed Thursday outside the nearby city of Matamoros after they attacked an army patrol on a highway, Mexico's Defense Department reported.
The department also announced that a series of clashes on Tuesday farther west along the border killed six gunmen and one soldier. Ten soldiers and a police officer were wounded.
The American consulate in Matamoros says that it has restricted the travel of American officials to Reynosa because of "gunfights [that] are believed to have involved narcotics trafficking organizations."
The closure follows a travel alert issued Feb. 22 by the State Department, warning travelers of border violence.
"Some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades," the alert said.
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.
Said 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.