Gunmen in northwestern Mexico killed nine U.S. citizens, three women and six children, as the members of a religious community were traveling on a highway.
MEXICO CITY—Gunmen in Mexico killed nine U.S. citizens, three women and six children, as they were traveling on a highway, officials and family members said.
The victims, members of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints community in northwestern Mexico, were traveling between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua when they were attacked early Monday afternoon.
“This is a lamentable situation,” said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during his morning news conference. He promised that his government would do everything possible to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
A convoy of three SUVs in which family members were traveling might have been confused by gunmen from one organized crime group that is disputing the area with a rival group, Mexico’s security minister, Alfonso Durazo, said.
President Trump said Tuesday that the U.S. is ready and willing to help Mexico take on the drug cartels if the country needs or requests assistance.
“This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth,” he tweeted. He added that “the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”
President Lopez Obrador rejected the offer of military help Tuesday. “I think we don’t need intervention,” he said.
He said the war on Mexico’s powerful drug cartels carried out by the previous two governments was a failed policy. “They declared war and it didn’t work,” he said. “They put the people of Mexico in mourning.”
Mr. Lopez Obrador said he wouldn’t change his strategy of dealing with the country’s relentless cartel-fueled violence, which entails addressing the poverty and inequality that he says drives Mexico’s violence. He said he would continue to provide “a lot of well-being for the population and a lot of attention to young people.”
‘“We will not yield on this,” he said.
Security Minister Durazo said that in addition to those killed, six children were wounded, one young girl was found unhurt and one girl was believed missing, he said.
The wounded minors were in good condition except for one girl who had a bullet wound in the back, “but fortunately she is out of danger,” Mr. Durazo said.
Mexican drug cartels make the mafia and yakuza look like boy scouts in comparision to the amount of collateral damage they're willing to create.