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Body Count From Mexico Mass Graves Rises To 42 As Grim Search Continues

posted 24 Nov 2013, 16:29 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 24 Nov 2013, 16:30 ]

Authorities in Mexico unearth more bodies from mass graves in the western state ofJalisco, bringing the body count to 42, as cartel violence erupts in the neighbouring state of Michoacan.

 LA BARCAJALISCOMEXICO (NOVEMBER 23, 2013) (REUTERS) -  The number of murder victims unearthed in mass graves in a small town to the west of Mexico this month has risen to 42, as authorities extend investigations in a troubled region of the drug-ravaged country where cartels are battling each other for turf control.

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Earlier this month, 14 bodies were reportedly found in clandestine graves in the municipality of La Barca, located on the border between the states of Jalisco andMichoacan. As police scoured the area for clues into the killings, the death roll was revised earlier this week to 30. Later on Sunday (November 24), Mexico's Attorney General reported the current body count stands at 42.

The discovery of the mass graves comes amid an explosion of violence in the western Mexican state of Michoacan where soldiers have been deployed to wrestle back law and order. The notorious Knights Templar drug cartel has been fighting civilian-led vigilante groups, some with ties to other cartels.

Authorities reported bodies found in the graves showed bullet wounds and possible signs of torture, with two women said to be among the victims. The bodies have been reportedly taken to Mexico City for DNA testing.

Federal police are scouring the area for clues into the killings with more bodies expected to be unearthed.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December pledging to eradicate the gang violence that has claimed nearly 80,000 lives since the start of 2007, but parts of Mexico are still regularly racked by shootings and executions.