Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Belgian national has become the latest casualty in a popular Mexican tourist destination plagued by violence

Jan KM Sarens, 59, died from a gunshot wound to the chest at a shopping center in Acapulco, prosecutors say. A high-profile rape case recently cast a spotlight on the resort city in Guerrero state. Hooded gunmen burst into a beach bungalow and accosted six women from Spain after tying up their male companions. For years, Guerrero has ranked among the Mexican states with the highest homicide rates. In 2012, it had more reported gun murders than any other state in Mexico: more than 1,600, according to a federal government tally released recently. Major drug cartels are part of a deep-seated security problem in the region, said Alejandro Hope, a security analyst at the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness think tank. Large cartels have fragmented, and the resulting smaller gangs are battling each other over turf in the Pacific port city and the surrounding state.

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