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Two mayoral candidates have been killed in Mexico, bringing the number to 17 so far

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Two mayoral candidates in Mexico were found dead Friday, bringing to 17 the number of candidates killed ahead of the June 2 election.

One candidate was killed on Friday in the border state of Tamaulipas in northern Mexico. Noé Ramos Ferretiz ran as a candidate for a coalition of the opposition National Action Party and the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which had governed Mexico until 2000. He ran for re-election as mayor of the city of Ciudad Mante.

Another mayoral candidate in the southern state of Oaxaca was found dead a day after he was reported missing. Alberto García was a candidate for mayor of the city of San José Independencia in Oaxaca.

Oaxaca prosecutors said García was found dead, apparently beaten to death, on an island in a reservoir near the city. Drug gangs have been active in the area in the past.

The June 2 national elections will be the country’s most violent ever.

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Prosecutors in Tamaulipas said Ramos Ferretiz was attacked on Friday, but provided no further details other than saying they were investigating.

Local media reported he had been stabbed and posted photos showing a bloodied body lying on a sidewalk. Tamaulipas has long been torn by wars between drug cartels. Ciudad Mante is located in the southern part of the state, relatively far from border cities such as Reynosa and Matamoros.

“We will not allow violence to decide these elections,” PRI party leader Alejandro Moreno wrote on social media, where he confirmed the “cowardly murder” of Ramos Ferretiz.

In Oaxaca, the state electoral council condemned the death of García, who went missing earlier this week with his wife – the current mayor of San José Independencia. The woman was found alive.

The electoral council called García’s death a “murder” and said such crimes “should not occur during elections.”

In early April, mayoral candidate Bertha Gaytán was shot, hours after she asked for protection and began campaigning. Gaytán was fatally shot on a street in a town outside the city of Celaya, in the north-central state of Guanajuato. She had just launched her campaign for mayor of Celaya.

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Mexico’s drug cartels have often targeted mayors and mayoral candidates in assassination attempts in an effort to control local police or extort money from municipal governments.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged in early April that drug cartels often try to determine who will become mayor — either by running their own candidates or by eliminating potential rivals.

“They make an appointment and say, ‘This person is going to be mayor; we don’t want anyone else to sign up to participate, and anyone who does knows what to expect, he said.

The recent killings have prompted the government to provide around 250 candidates with bodyguards, but those running for municipal positions – although most threatened – are last in line for security.

Violence against politicians is widespread in Mexico. In early April, the mayor of Churumuco, a city in the neighboring state of Michoacán, was shot dead in a taco restaurant in the capital Morelia.

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In late February, two mayoral candidates were shot dead within hours of each other in another city in Michoacán.


Follow AP’s coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean at https://apnews.com/hub/latin-america

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