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Fourth mayor found dead this year in Mexico

30 july 2011, 12:22
The mayor of a town in Mexico's northern Zacatecas state was found dead along with one other man Thursday a day after they were abducted, bringing the total to four mayors killed in Mexico this year, AFP reports.

The bullet-ridden bodies of Fortino Cortes, mayor of Florencia de Benito Juarez, a town of 4,000 people, and another man were found with their hands tied in neighboring Jalisco state, said Zacatecas state prosecutor Arturo Nahle.

Heavily armed men abducted Cortes Wednesday afternoon from the Zacatecas Farming Association, along with the treasurer of the organization, the prosecutor said.

Their bodies were found together with a message which appeared to link the crime to a conflict between the Gulf drug gang and its former allies the Zetas.

The mayor's brother, who was president of the local farming association, was also killed in May, in a shootout between suspected criminals, the prosecutor said.

Fourteen Mexican mayors were killed in 2010, while four have been killed so far this year and two ex-mayors have been attacked.

Authorities believe mayors may be targeted for refusing to cooperate with criminal groups.

More than 41,000 people have died in violence linked to Mexico's organized crime gangs since President Felipe Calderon launched a military crackdown on them in December 2006, according to media reports.

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