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Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 19:00 GMT
Third Mexican musician is killed
Funeral of Sergio Gomez at National Cathedral
One of the earlier victims, Sergio Gomez, was buried on Wednesday
Another musician in Mexico has been found murdered - the third in a week.

Jose Luis Aquino had not been seen for three days when his body was found half-buried under a bridge in the southern state of Oaxaca.

His hands and feet were bound, and he had been repeatedly hit on the head, which was covered with a plastic bag.

Several musicians associated with drugs gangs have been killed this year, but the fear is that mainstream musicians are now also being targeted.

Crime of passion?

The authorities have not formally named Mr Aquino as the victim, but relatives and colleagues in his group Los Conde, in which he played the trumpet, made his name public.

Officials say they are still investigating possible motives, including a crime of passion.

Los Conde guitarist Francisco Conde was quoted as saying Mr Aquino, 33, was married with two children.

Sergio Gomez (centre) with his band K-Paz de la Sierra in August 2007
Gomez (centre) and his band had a following in Mexico and the US

"He was a good person and never fought with anyone," he said. "He didn't smoke or do drugs."

The denial is important because several of the other victims this year were performers of the popular "narcocorrido" music, where lyrics centre on drug-trafficking. Their deaths are believed to be tied to organised crime.

However, the two most recent killings before Mr Aquino involved musicians with no apparent link themselves to drugs.

Sergio Gomez, of the K-Paz de la Sierra band, was seized on Sunday after a concert in the western state of Michoacan on Sunday. The motive is unclear but Michoacan has been the scene of gruesome drug-related violence.

Shot in hospital

Mr Gomez was killed hours after another singer, Zayda Pena, was killed in the border city of Matamoros in Tamaulipas state.

Ms Pena, 28, was shot by an unknown assailant in hospital where she was recovering from a previous gunshot wound.

The motive behind her murder is also unknown.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in Mexico this year as drug cartels battle for territory and drug routes.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has deployed troops in several states, including his home state of Michoacan, to try to tackle the violence.


SEE ALSO
Bodies in Juarez graves exhumed
05 Dec 07 |  Americas
Abducted Mexican singer strangled
04 Dec 07 |  Americas
US-Mexico drugs blitz 'success'
04 Oct 07 |  Americas
Mexico drug gangs 'in web taunts'
14 Feb 07 |  Americas
Life in jail for Mexico drugs man
18 Sep 07 |  Americas
Mexico's forbidden songs
03 Oct 04 |  Americas

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