MEXICOCITY (Reuters) – Six inmates were killed on Wednesday in a clash between rival groups at a prison in the central Mexican state of Morelos, including one of the former leaders of a criminal gang blamed for the 2014 disappearance of 43 student teachers, state authorities said.
Another two inmates were injured, and taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital.
Spiralling violence, including homicides on track to hit a new record in 2019, is one of the most pressing issues facing the administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Morelos state police and soldiers from the Mexican army and National Guard militarized police were sent in to regain control of the prison.
“Some 350 security personnel were deployed for the implementation of the national security protocols, and full and total control (of the prison) was regained,” authorities said in a statement.
Raymundo Isidro, the former Morelos state leader of criminal gang Guerreros Unidos leader, was among those who were killed, the statement added.
In 2014, Guerreros Unidos mistook 43 student teachers in the southwestern city of Iguala in Guerrero state for members of a rival outfit, killed them, incinerated their bodies in a nearby garbage dump and tipped their remains into a river.
The abduction and apparent massacre of the youths, widely believed to have been committed by corrupt police working with the violent drug gang on the night of Sept. 26, 2014, drew international outrage and condemnation of the administration of former President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Since Isidro led Guerreros Unidos in Morelos, he is not thought to have participated in the abduction or massacre of the student teachers.
(Reporting by Uriel Sanchez; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)