Latin America & Caribbean

New mass grave with 17 bodies found in southern Mexico

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Soldiers in Mexico have found at least 17 bodies in a grave in the southern state of Guerrero, officials say.

The bodies were unearthed in the town of San Miguel Totolapan, which has been gripped by drug-related violence.

The officials say they are searching for more bodies.

Last year, three mass graves were found in Mexico - each full of bodies dumped by drug cartel members. More than 31,000 Mexicans have died in drug-related violence since 2006.

"As of this evening they (authorities) have confirmed that 17 bodies have been found in a common grave," Guerrero state police officer Fernando Monreal told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

He said that the search for more bodies was suspended at nightfall and would resume on Wednesday morning.

Mass graves have become a frequent discovery in parts of Mexico, as rival drugs gangs fight for control of smuggling routes into the US.

Drug-related violence has escalated in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon began deploying troops to tackle the cartels in late 2006.

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