Thirteen killed in crime wave in Mexico's Acapulco

MEXICO CITY Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:55pm GMT

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Thirteen people were killed in and around the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco early on Saturday in apparent drug-related violence, with four victims found beheaded, security officials said.

Five of those killed were police officers whose night-time patrol was attacked by gunmen on the outskirts of Acapulco, a Pacific Ocean resort popular with tourists, the security officials said in a statement.

The bullet-riddled bodies of eight other men were discovered in different areas around Acapulco, and four of them had been beheaded, the officials added.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has staked his presidency on crushing drug gangs whose turf wars have killed about 19,000 people since he came to power in 2006. Some 45,000 troops and federal police have been deployed across the country.

Rival drug gangs in recent years sometimes have fought over territory in Acapulco, where any resurgence in violence would be bad news for the tourism industry. Last June, at least 18 people were killed in a shootout between drug gangs and soldiers in the city, which is home to around a million people in the state of Guerrero.

More violence apparently linked to drugs flared later on Saturday in Guerrero, with Mexican soldiers exchanging fire with gunmen, national newspaper Reforma reported. One soldier and 10 gunmen were killed in the town of Ajuchitlan del Progreso in northern Guerrero, the newspaper reported.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Will Dunham)

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