At least eleven police officers were killed in an armed attack in southern Mexico on Monday. (Representative)

Acapulco, Mexico:

At least 16 people, including a dozen police officers, were killed in two armed attacks on Monday in regions of Mexico hit by drug-trafficking violence, authorities said.

In the southern state of Guerrero, unknown assailants targeted a security patrol in the municipality of Coyuca de Benitez, prosecutor Alejandro Hernandez said.

According to preliminary information, 11 members of the city police were killed, he said, adding that the motive for the massacre was being investigated.

A senior state security official was traveling in the convoy when it was attacked, authorities said, without confirming media reports that he was killed along with police bodyguards.

Security forces were later seen patrolling the area – where several lifeless bodies lay on the ground – as a police helicopter flew overhead.

According to authorities, five civilians were killed and two others were injured in the second attack in the neighboring western state of Michoacan.

According to the prosecutor’s office, a group of armed men attacked a brother of the mayor of the city of Tacambaro.

A restaurant worker and a police officer were among those killed, while the mayor’s brother was injured, it said.

In a video posted on social media, gunmen were seen opening fire and then fleeing in several vehicles.

Mexico has been plagued by cartel-related bloodshed, with more than 420,000 people murdered since the military deployed in the war on drugs in 2006.

Since then, the country’s murder rate has tripled to 25 per 100,000 residents.

Mexico has also recorded more than 110,000 cases of enforced disappearances since 1962, most of which have been attributed to criminal organizations.

Guerrero and Michoacan are among the most violent areas in the country, with clashes between rival drug traffickers and security forces.

Although it is home to the famous coastal town of Acapulco, Guerrero is one of the poorest states in Mexico.

In the run-up to elections, violence – particularly against low-level officials – is escalating across the country. Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place next year.

Since taking office in 2018, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has championed a “hugs not bullets” strategy to address violent crime at its root by tackling poverty and inequality with social programs rather than the army.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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