‘ MARIACHI’ GUNMEN KILL FIVE IN MEXICO CITY
MEXICO CITY: Gunmen dressed as mariachi musicians opened fire in Mexico City’s famed Plaza Garibaldi, killing five people and wounding eight others, including a foreigner, law enforcement officials said on Saturday (Sunday in Manila). The five assailants opened fire with rifles and handguns shortly before 10 p.m. Friday (0300 GMT on Saturday) as the downtown plaza was filled with party-goers enjoying the September 16 Independence Day weekend celebrations. Investigators later found 60 empty bullet casings on the ground. The shooters fled aboard three motorcycles, the Mexico City prosecutor’s office said. The city’s chief of public security, RaymundoCollins, described the attack as a targeted hit. Police patrol vehicles on Saturday were parked outside venues usually bursting with customers seeking to pay mariachi musicians to perform. Until recently Mexico’s capital had been safe from the organized crime-related violence wracking other parts of the country. Most targeted reprisals have taken place on the city’s outskirts or in areas where criminal gangs operate. Plaza Garibaldi is located near the notorious Tepito neighborhood, where a local gang that distributes drugs in the sprawling capital of 21 million is based. Police have linked that gang to larger cartels such as the Jalisco New Generation. Mexico has been hit by a wave of violence since deploying the army to fight the country’s powerful drug cartels in 2006. Since then, more than 200,000 people have been murdered, including a record 28,702 last year. Another 37,000 people are reported as missing.