Armed groups swarm through a city in southern Mexico

Armed groups swarm through a city in southern Mexico

MEXICO CITY — Dozens of heavily armed men poured through the Mexican colonial city of San Cristobal de las Casas, and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Wednesday one person was killed in clashes between two gangs.

López Obrador said the confrontation involved “two groups fighting for control of a market” in San Cristobal. The dispute was apparently about the control of contraband sold at the market.

It was unclear if any of the groups were drug gangs. López Obrador claimed that 75% of homicides in Mexico are “related to gang confrontations.”

Powerful drug cartels and their territorial disputes have fueled much of Mexico’s persistently high homicide rate. In 2021 there were over 34,300 homicides in Mexico.

López Obrador said that homicides are few in states where a gang has undisputed control.

Terrified residents of San Cristobal de las Casas released videos of the gunmen Tuesday showing organized squads of men carrying military-style rifles through the city.

San Cristobal de las Casas was briefly taken over by indigenous Zapatista rebels during their 1994 uprising. The southern city is popular with tourists.