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Mexican president: Drug murders down 15-20 per cent

Monday, July 16, 2012 | 10:20 AM    

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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) — Mexican President Felipe Calderon said homicides in Mexico dropped 15 per cent to 20 per cent in the first six months of this year compared to the same period of 2011, according to an interview published yesterday by the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Calderon said 2011 had proved "a climactic point" in drug-related killings, though he did not cite specific figures.

"Today, violence related to rivalries between criminals is declining," he said. "It is higher than when I assumed the presidency, yes, but I insist it is a phenomenon that comes from the brutality and conflicts between cartels, and not precisely from the government's actions."

Calderon claimed in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month that drug-related killings in Mexico had fallen by roughly 12 per cent in the first five months of this year, although he and his administration have refused to release the actual figures of drug-linked homicides since last September.

The last set of official figures showed such homicides rose 11 per cent to 12,903 during the first nine months of 2011, up from 11,583 in the same period of 2010.

As of the report in September, drug violence had killed more than 47,500 people since Calderon launched an offensive against Mexico's cartels when he took office in December 2006.

Gruesome mass killings continue in parts of northern and western Mexico. In June, members of a drug cartel dumped 49 bodies without heads, hands or feet on a highway near the northern industrial city of Monterrey.

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