Page last updated at 10:00 GMT, Sunday, 30 November 2008

Mexican diners killed by gunmen

Police tape cordons off the area at a seafood restaurant where gunmen opened fire
The attack had the hallmarks of a inter-drug cartel assassination

A group of masked gunmen have killed eight people at a restaurant in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez.

Police said the gunmen arrived at the restaurant in three cars, approached a group of people and opened fire.

The city, across the frontier from El Paso in Texas, has seen spiralling violence this year, most of it connected with the drug industry.

On Friday, Mexican government figures showed limited success in a campaign to reduce the murder and kidnapping rates.

Drug war frontline

The BBC's Stephen Gibbs, in Mexico City, says the restaurant attack had all the hallmarks of a inter-drug cartel assassination.

Ciudad Juarez is on the front-line of Mexico's vicious drug wars and across the city on Friday night alone, a total of 25 people were killed.

The government of Felipe Calderon has vowed to take on the gangs which make billions of dollars a year exporting cocaine and other drugs to the US, our correspondent says.

At least 20,000 troops have been deployed to capture or kill the ringleaders.

Government officials say that the extreme violence in the last few months is a sign that the cartels are under pressure, and are increasingly fighting amongst themselves for fewer spoils.

But, our correspondent adds, that is little comfort for ordinary Mexicans, who believe that the general state of insecurity across this country is unacceptable.

On Friday, hours before the restaurant attack occurred, official crime figures showed that over the last 100 days, the number of kidnappings in the country had fallen from four a day, to three.

But as most kidnappings go unreported, many observers believe the real figure is around seven times that amount, says our correspondent.

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