Mexican villagers clash with criminal gangs, leaving 14 dead

Fighting took place in the village of Texcaltitlan. Credit: Google Maps.

Fourteen people were killed in a clash on Friday between gunmen from a criminal gang and residents of a small farming community in central Mexico, authorities said. Four people were left wounded and two more missing.

Dramatic video of the fight posted on social media showed villagers in cowboy hats with sickles and hunting rifles chasing down suspected gang members amid bursts of automatic gunfire.

Police said the clash occurred in the hamlet of Texcaltitlan, about 80 miles southwest of the capital.

State police said 11 of the dead were members of the criminal gang, while three were village residents. Police did not identify the gang, but the violent Familia Michoacana drug cartel has been dominant in that area for a decade.

The video appeared to show the attackers wore military-style uniforms, some with helmets. Villagers apparently set their bodies and vehicles on fire.

Local media said Familia Michoacana gunmen showed up in the village earlier demanding local farmers pay a per-acre fee. Authorities did not immediately comment on that.

Drug cartels in Mexico have been known to extort money from almost any licit or illicit business that they can, sometimes attacking or burning ranches, farms or stores that refuse to pay.

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