Page last updated at 08:23 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Gun attack at Mexico student party leaves 14 dead


Gunmen kill partygoers in Mexico

Gunmen have killed at least 14 people at a high school student party in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez.

Three adults and 11 teenagers died, while some 20 others were injured, as the attackers fired indiscriminately.

Authorities say they are investigating any links to the drug gangs that have made Ciudad Juarez one of the world's most dangerous cities.

But witnesses said the victims, most aged between 15 and 20, had no ties to traffickers.

"It must have been a huge mistake," Martha Lujan, who lives in the housing complex where the attack took place, told the Associated Press news agency.

Patricia Gonzalez, the attorney general for Chihuhua state, where Ciudad Juarez is located said: "We have two lines of investigation and one of them is linked to drug trafficking.

"We know from witnesses that the men arrived looking for someone."

Witnesses said the gunmen drove up to the house in several cars late on Saturday or in the early hours of Sunday.

Scattered bodies

They began shooting at people from outside the property before moving inside, and pursued some of the youngsters trying to escape over a fence.

The men drove up in four SUVs, went into the house and shot at everyone, you could hear the gunfire all around

The bodies of the victims lay scattered around the house.

Unnamed police officials told AP news agency that witnesses had counted at least 15 attackers.

"The men drove up in four SUVs, they were well-armed. They went into the house and shot at everyone, you could hear the gunfire all around," said a neighbour at the scene, quoted by Reuters news agency.

Ciudad Juarez, straddling a highly lucrative drug-smuggling route into the US, is the scene of a vicious ongoing turf war between rival cartels.

At least 15 other people died in the city, on the US border, at the weekend.

Soldiers in a blood-stained room where gunmen opened fire on a party in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on 31 January 2010
Most of the dead were teenagers or young adults

Some 45,000 troops and extra police have been deployed to crack down on the gangs in Mexico, including some 10,000 in Ciudad Juarez, which lies across the border from El Paso, Texas.

But the campaign has done little to curb the bloodletting - more than 7,000 people reportedly died in Mexican drug-related violence last year.

Beheadings, attacks on police, and shootings in clubs and restaurants are a daily occurrence in some regions.

In two of the worst attacks in 2009, gunmen stormed drug rehabilitation clinics in September, killing nearly 30 people.

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