By Sierra Juarez
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (AA) - Fifteen people are dead following a gunfight between armed civilians and the Mexican army in the western state of Guerrero.
The gunfight Tuesday marks a second mass shooting in the country this week.
The police report said armed civilians allegedly started the confrontation after seeing a military presence in their town. Fourteen civilians and one law official died in the shootout.
“The loss of human life is terrible, very regrettable,” said Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). “Peace is needed in this country, and we are going to achieve it.”
During his campaign, AMLO vowed to resolve violence in the country. But Mexico is on track to have an even deadlier year than 2018, which was the highest year on record since 1997.
Local news outlet, Milenio, released a report in July that counted 2,249 murders in June. It was the first time since the media outlet began keeping track of the numbers in 2007 that a single month had more than 2,000 murders.
At least 13 police were killed Monday in Michoacan during an ambush with gunmen. The two mass shootings have put pressure on AMLO to address increased violence.
He has been president for nearly a year and in that time, his policy toward violence has centered on not combating “violence with violence.” He created a national guard, but many are working on controlling migration.
He has also focused on creating peace programs, which he hoped would lead to cartels putting down their arms.
But in states like Guerrero, violence continues to ravage the area as clashes continue between warring cartels, vigilante local police and armed forces.
Tuesday’s gunfight took place near Iguala, which is the city known for the forced disappearance of 43 students in 2014. Local media reported that corrupt police and cartels were to blame for the disappearances.