Mexico saw no thaw in its gang-related violence on Christmas Day — the chilling remains of six decapitated heads were discovered in a town in the western part of the country.
In a brief statement, Michoacan state prosecutor’s office said that police have not yet identified the victims and have also been unable to find their bodies. The heads were discovered on Sunday in a municipality near the state of Jalisco– in Jiquilpan, a region with a history of violence in recent years due to competing drug gangs, according to the Associated Press (AP).
In another two separate incidents, also on Christmas but in other regions, a total of 16 people were killed in gun-related violence presumed to have been motivated by drug-related violence.
Of the 16, seven people were massacred in the municipality of Atoyac de Alvarez, in the southern state of Guerrero. The victims included five men from the same family, as gunmen enter the house where the victims were gearing up to celebrate Christmas. Three brothers, their father and their uncle were shot dead according, to AP. A married couple who had been invited to lunch with the family were also killed.
Out of the seven that were killed, two were municipal police officers and one a state police officer, according to state security spokesman Roberto Alvarez Heredia. Preliminary investigations suggest that the gunmen were motivated by revenge and had attempted to target only one individual but eventually ended up killing bystanders.
In another incident on Christmas, nine people were killed in Chihuahua state. The report by Agence France-Presse news agency also added that the five of the nine, including three women who were killed in Ciudad Juarez, were tortured first.
Guerrero and Acapulco in particular have for decades been known to add to Mexico's reputation as a notoriously unsafe place due to drug-related violence. In the five years since former Mexican president Felipe Calderon began to use the military to combat the country's powerful drug cartels, some 50,000 people have been killed.