Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico drug clinic shooting leaves nine dead

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Nine people have been shot dead in an attack on a drug rehabilitation centre in northern Mexico.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire at the centre in the city of Gomez Palacio, Durango state, on Saturday afternoon.

The bodies were found in different parts of the centre, which had nearly 50 patients, a senior local official said.

Earlier this month, a similar attack on another drug rehabilitation centre in northern Mexico left 19 people dead.

In recent years, dozens have died in similar attacks.

Such shootings are blamed on drug traffickers, who accuse the clinics of protecting dealers from rival gangs, observers say.

Also, police say drug cartels use rehabilitation clinics to recruit hitmen and smugglers - and threaten to kill those who fail to co-operate.

Durango state deputy attorney general Ramiro Ortiz said the owner of the centre attacked in Gomez Palacio was among the dead, and appeared to have been the main target, AP reported.