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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 09:43 GMT
Gunmen target Mexican politician
Mexican police
Security is being boosted in some of Mexico's crime hot spots
Gunmen have shot and seriously injured a Mexican congressman and killed his driver in the city of Nuevo Laredo, which is plagued by drugs violence.

Horacio Garza, from the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, was hit in the neck, leg and arm.

Nuevo Laredo, on the US border, is one of Mexico's most lawless cities.

At the weekend, the Mexican government announced it was sending thousands of extra troops to the region to step up the fight against organised crime.

Mr Garza, a federal congressman, was on the road to Nuevo Laredo's airport when gunmen surrounded his vehicle and opened fire, Mexican media reported.

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He is said to be in a stable condition at a local hospital, where he is being treated for several bullet wounds.

The shooting comes just days after President Felipe Calderon's government announced that it was stepping up security in the state of Tamaulipas, where Nuevo Laredo is located, and Nuevo Leon state.

The deployment is the latest by President Calderon who, since taking office last December, has sent more than 20,000 troops and federal police around the country to tackle the drugs gangs.

On Monday, Mr Calderon announced that he was giving soldiers a wage rise of some 45%.

"[Mexico] needs soldiers today, to guarantee the interior and exterior security of the nation," Mr Calderon said.

Last year, more than 2,000 people died in cartel-related violence - some of the victims were tortured or beheaded.




SEE ALSO
Mexico steps up anti-drugs fight
19 Feb 07 |  Americas
Mexico drug gangs 'in web taunts'
14 Feb 07 |  Americas
Mexico troops sent to border city
03 Jan 07 |  Americas
Human heads dumped in Mexico bar
07 Sep 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Mexico
01 Dec 06 |  Country profiles

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