14 killed in Mexico prison break

December 5, 2009 12:00 am

, ONTERREY, Mexico (AFP) – Fourteen people were killed in northern Monterrey, including 11 drug traffickers and a woman passerby in a shootout with police, and two police officers during a prison breakout, state officials said.

The firefight between suspected drug traffickers and police lasted "more than 45 minutes," during which a woman was caught in the crossfire, military officials told AFP.

Two children were also wounded in the head during the shootout, they added.

In a separate incident on Friday also in Monterrey, gunmen drove a van through the door of a local jail and opened fire, killing two police officers and setting free 23 inmates, the officials said.

Sixteen of the sprung prisoners were former police officers charged with being in the pay of drug cartels, while the seven remaining inmates were suspected drug traffickers, they said.

Monterrey, with some 3.7 million people, is Mexico\\\’s third-largest city and has been wracked by drug-related violence as the rest of northern Mexico bordering with the United States.

President Felipe Calderon has dispatched some 50,000 soldiers and thousands of police in a nationwide clampdown to confront the country\\\’s powerful drug cartels, but has so far failed to stem drug-related violence that has claimed over 14,000 lives in the past three years.


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