Gunmen ambush security official’s convoy in Mexico

Police escort a wounded bodyguard in Michoacan

Mexican drug gangs have been known to target security officials

Gunmen in Mexico have attacked a convoy with the top security official in the western state of Michoacan, killing four people and wounding 10.

Officials say Public Safety Secretary Minerva Bautista was among the injured, but is now recovering.  Some 20 people with assault rifles and grenades carried out the attack.  The identity of the gunmen was not immediately known. Michoacan is home to one of Mexico’s most feared drug gangs, known as La Familia.

Ms Bautista’s convoy was ambushed as she was returning from the opening of a regional fair on Saturday, officials say.  The attackers used assault rifles, grenades, a grenade launcher and a sniper rifle capable to hit through bullet-resistant materials.

“In the ambush, they used concentrated fire from these types of weapons, forcing her [Ms Bautista] and her escort to crash into a trailer truck that they had pulled across the road,” State Attorney General Jesus Montejano told Mexico’s Milenio TV station.

Two of Ms Bautista’s bodyguards and two bystanders were killed in the attack. Most of the wounded were bystanders. The attack comes a day after seven people, including six police officers, died in a shoot-out with suspected gang hitmen in the city of Ciudad Juarez, on the border with the US.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has poured thousands of armed police and troops to wrest control from the powerful gangs.

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