Gunmen kill 13 at Veracruz bar in one of worst Mexican slayings this year

The attack took place in the city of Minatitlan in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 April 2019
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Gunmen kill 13 at Veracruz bar in one of worst Mexican slayings this year

  • The unidentified assailants opened fire on Friday night after coming to look for a man at the bar
  • Seven men, five women and a child died in the shooting

MEXICO CITY: Gunmen shot dead 13 people at a bar in the city of Minatitlan in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz, authorities said on Friday, in one of the worst slayings to hit Mexico since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office.
The unidentified assailants opened fire on Friday night after coming to look for a man at a bar in the southeast of Minatitlan, a spokesman for the government of Veracruz said.
Seven men, five women and a child died in the shooting, which occurred close to Minatitlan’s oil refinery, one of six run by state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex). Four other people were injured, the state government said in a statement.
The motive for the killings was unclear, the spokesman said.
The man the gunmen were seeking was identified as the owner of a bar in the city, the state government said. The attack took place during a family celebration.
It was not immediately clear if the man owned the bar where the attack occurred, nor whether he was present at the time.
Hugo Gutierrez, the head of public security in the state, said on Twitter that an operation had been launched to capture the people responsible for the killings.
The oil-rich state of Veracruz has been convulsed by gang violence and political corruption scandals for several years.
Lopez Obrador took office in December vowing to reduce violence in Mexico, where more than 200,000 people have been killed since the end of 2006 in brutal turf wars between drug cartels and their clashes with security forces.
After reaching record levels in 2018, murder rates have stayed high, surpassing previous-year levels in the first three months of the new government, official government data shows.
The president was due to visit Veracruz on Sunday, according to an official schedule published before the attack took place.


Turkey clears RSF representative of ‘terror propaganda’

Updated 38 sec ago
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Turkey clears RSF representative of ‘terror propaganda’

  • The three could have been jailed for 14 years
  • Guest editors took control over the paper to support Ozgur Gundem
ISTANBUL: The Turkey representative for Reporters Without Borders (RSF) was acquitted on Wednesday of the charge of making “terror propaganda” for Kurdish militants, in a case which triggered international alarm over press freedom in the country.
With dozens of journalists behind bars and on trial, activists claim the climate for the media has deteriorated under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Supporters erupted into applause after RSF representative Erol Onderoglu, rights activist Sebnem Korur Fincanci and journalist Ahmet Nesin were acquitted by an Istanbul court.
They were accused of making “terror propaganda” on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after guest-editing the pro-Kurdish Turkish newspaper Ozgur Gundem, as well as “condoning crime” and “inciting crime.”
The three risked 14 years in jail in the trial which began in November 2016.
Ozgur Gundem had invited guest editors to take control of the paper in a campaign of solidarity as it faced pressure from the Turkish authorities.
The newspaper was raided and permanently shut down in August 2016, accused of links with the PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
The three campaigners were detained for a short period in 2016, and can now apply for financial compensation for time spent in jail.
The acquittals are in stark contrast with the harsh verdicts handed down by Turkish courts to critical journalists in recent years, the most controversial of which was the case against opposition daily Cumhuriyet whose former staff have been sentenced to jail.
“I warmly thank all those who supported us during the trial,” Onderoglu, who will return to Istanbul next week, said via text message.
But he added: “The fight continues for all our colleagues unjustly on trial or imprisoned.”
RSF said on Twitter it was “deeply relieved” by the acquittals but called for another trial due to begin against Onderoglu later this year to be scrapped.
Onderoglu faces the same accusation of making “terror propaganda” after supporting academics who signed a petition calling for peace and the end of security operations against militants in the Kurdish-majority southeast.
“Three years of absurd proceedings was already a form of unjust punishment. AND a new trial against Erol will start on 7 November. These charges must be dropped!” RSF said.
Only Fincanci attended the hearing while Onderoglu and Nesin were abroad.
Fincanci told AFP she was “very surprised” by the acquittal.