Mexico gang shootout in Nayarit state kills 28

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A shootout between rival Mexican gangs has left at least 28 people dead, officials say.

The gunfight took place at a crossroads near Ruiz in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, some 800km (500 miles) north-west of Mexico City.

Police found 28 men dead and four wounded when they reached the scene, which was littered with bullet shells.

In Michoacan state, drug gang violence has forced more than 1,000 people to flee their villages, officials say.

More than 34,000 people have died in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown on the country's drug cartels in December 2006.

Nayarit state has a strong presence of one of Mexico's most powerful drug gangs, the Sinaloa cartel, which is run by the country's most wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.

Security forces in Nayarit had initially been investigating a reported kidnapping when they were alerted to the shooting nearby.

When they reached the scene, they found 28 bodies, and four people injured.

Ten vehicles had been abandoned at the site, the state attorney general's office said.

It was not clear what had provoked the shooting but the Sinaloa gang has been battling two other cartels in the area, Los Zetas and La Familia.

In Michoacan, officials said 48 hours of gun battles between suspected drug gangs had forced more than 1,000 people to flee villages in the Tierra Caliente region of the state.

The families had taken shelter in churches, halls and schools in the town of Buenavista Tomatlan.

Residents told local media that the fighting between the drug factions meant it was too dangerous to stay in outlying areas.

Officials say the fighting has now stopped and troops and police officers are patrolling the area.

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