MEXICO CITY — At least five people were killed in a spasm of violence that shook one of Mexico’s largest states over the weekend, authorities said Monday.
Gunmen on Sunday blew up 18 electrical substations — twice the originally reported number — and torched six gasoline stations in Michoacán state, just west of the nation’s capital. Nearly half a million people were left without electricity for 15 hours.
During that time at least five people were killed during a gun battle at the city hall in Apatzingan, one of the state’s principal cities, the state prosecutor’s office reported Monday. It said all of the dead were men in their late teens or early 20s, but it did not say what group they belonged to, if any. Authorities initially reported no casualties.
A leader of one of the self-defense squads that have sprung up in the state put the number of dead at 13 and said nearly all were part of a drug-trafficking gang.
Michoacán for years has been dominated either by the Knights Templar or its predecessor, La Familia, cartels that specialize in methamphetamine exported to the United States and that have controlled many city halls and police departments. More recently, groups of citizens have taken up arms to form self-defense vigilante groups to oppose the traffickers.