Latin America & Caribbean

Mexican police find 16 bodies in van in Guerrero state

Police officer in Acapulco - march 2012
Image caption President Calderon decided six years ago to deploy the army to fight the powerful cartels

Police in Mexico say they have found the bodies of 16 men inside an abandoned van beside a road in the western state of Guerrero.

A local prosecutor said all the bodies had multiple bullet wounds.

Police believe the 16 men, who are yet to be identified, could be the victims of an ongoing turf war between two drug cartels, the Michoacan Family and the Knights Templar.

Eleven bodies were found on a nearby highway last month.

The governor of Guerrero state, Angel Aguirre, said the victims were from the neighbouring state of Michoacan.

"The information I have at this stage is that they are victims of a clash that took place in Michoacan and brought here," he said.

The van was found in the town of Coyuca de Catalan, near Mexico's Pacific coast.

Mr Aguirre said he would ask for the deployment of extra troops and federal police in Guerrero state.

Tackling drug-related violence is one of the main challenges facing the Mexican president-elect, Enrique Pena Nieto, who is due to be sworn in on 1 December.

More than 55,000 people have been killed in such violence since President Felipe Calderon deployed the armed forces to combat the powerful drug cartels in 2006.