Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Battle zone on the border

A day after the bloodiest border shootout to date, residents who have endured years of violence on both sides of the Rio Grande counted their blessings. The gunbattle Thursday between Mexican soldiers and the Zetas drug gang killed at least 25 of the narcos near the town of Ciudad Mier, about 20 miles south of the border. It was yet another confrontation in what has become a battle zone in Mexico's drug war. "Two weeks ago, right across the border, there was a running gunbattle in Miguel Aleman. We could hear the shots," Capt. Francisco Garcia of the Roma police said Friday. Referring to other nearby Mexican towns, he said, "Three days ago, they had a shootout in Nuevo Guerrreo. And in Los Guerras, they have shootouts almost every night." So far, the violence has not crossed the Rio Grande. On Friday, another shootout occurred on a highway in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon. In that battle, five suspected narcos were killed by army troops. The violence has forced citizens on both sides of the border to dramatically change their behavior. For starters, casual trips across the Rio Grande are now just old memories. Foot traffic across the bridge in Roma has dropped by up to 90 percent this year, according to Mexican officials...more

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