Outrage at Mexico reprisal deaths
Mexico's leaders have expressed outrage at the apparent reprisal killing of the family of an elite Mexican solider who died in a high-profile drugs raid.
Four members of marine Melquisedet Angulo Cordova's family were killed at their home in the south-eastern state of Tabasco within hours of his funeral.
He died during an operation targeting one of Mexico's biggest drugs lords.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon called the murders "a cowardly and contemptible act of violence".
"These outrageous actions show the lack of scruples of organised crime in mowing down innocent lives," he said of the attack during which the marine's mother, brother, sister and aunt were killed.
Senate spokesman Sebastian Calderon described the situation as disastrous but vowed that the government would continue its fight against the drugs barons.
"We mustn't let our guard down, the government must continue and complete its duty," he said.
Gunmen targeted the family just a few hours after they had buried his body.
A local police official described how the gunmen had broken down the door of the family home, in Quintin Arauz, with a sledgehammer.
ARTURO BELTRAN LEYVA
One of Mexico's most-wanted drug traffickers
Had $2.3m bounty on his head
One of five brothers
"They [...] sprayed them with bullets in the living room and bedrooms," deputy police commander Saturnino Dominguez said.
As well as the four victims, another relative was seriously injured during the attack.
Reporter Franc Contreras, in Mexico City, said the multiple murders were being considered a revenge killing in Mexico, raising fears that the government is not able to protect those who battle the cartels on behalf of the state.
Cordova was the only solider killed during the raid on the property of Arturo Beltran Leyva, who was the third most-wanted man in Mexico.
Beltran Leyva and four alleged members of his cartel died during a shoot-out involving some 200 officers at a flat in Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City, last Thursday.
Based on the Pacific coast, his cartel was one of Mexico's most powerful and violent drug gangs.
Known as the "boss of bosses", Arturo Beltran Leyva was one of five brothers who split from the Sinaloa cartel and aligned themselves with Los Zetas, a group of former soldiers hired by the Gulf Cartel as hit men.
The split is believed to have fuelled much of the bloodshed across Mexico, where more than 14,000 people have died in drugs-related violence since 2006.
Mexico's authorities are battling a wave of violence by drug gangs fighting over smuggling routes to the US.
Washington says the rising death toll is a sign the drug gangs are weakening under President Calderon's military crackdown, which has seen some 49,000 extra troops deploy across Mexico.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/8428151.stm
Published: 2009/12/23 11:53:50 GMT