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Mexico closes 2017 with 25,339 murders, the highest figure since there is registration

Ⓒ AFP/Archivos – Herika Martínez – | Mexican police investigate at the scene of a multiple crime in Ciudad Juárez on December 6, 2017

Mexico, shaken by a growing wave of violence linked to drug trafficking, closed 2017 with 25,339 murders, the highest figure since the registration began in 1997, according to government figures.

The Executive Secretariat of Security of the Ministry of Interior (Interior) released Saturday the figures of homicides of December 2017, 2,219, which bring the annual total to 25,339.

In November, the number of murders was already 23,101, exceeding 22,409 in 2011, until then the most violent year since the record of intentional homicides in Mexico was launched in 1997.

The homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017 was 20.51, against 16.80 in 2016.

Mexico is experiencing a wave of violence linked to drug trafficking that has left more than 200,000 dead since December 2006, when the federal government launched a controversial military anti-drug operation that, according to its critics, has only contributed to the multiplication of murders and attacks.

The figures do not detail how many of these violent deaths are linked to crime, but some experts say that it is an important majority, since they are registered mostly in states with drug cartels, such as Guerrero (south) and Veracruz. (East).

In the last year, states that not long ago were oblivious to violence, such as Baja California Sur, Colima (northwest) and Guanajuato (center), began to be shaken by various criminal attacks.

From 2013 to 2015, the number of homicides fell from 20,000, but in 2016 it rebounded to 20,545.

Some experts in drug trafficking attribute this upsurge to the emergence of numerous autonomous criminal cells after the capture of the heads of the drug cartels.

They also point to the diversification of crime, as criminal gangs now traffic in stolen gasoline that extorts merchants or kidnaps or traffics people.

In the midst of this upsurge in violence last December, the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and its allies approved in Congress a controversial security law that according to its critics would lead to the militarization of the country when, they warn, military strategy anti-drugs would not have yielded the expected results.

A mayor of the state of Puebla, opposition lawmakers and the National Human Rights Commission (ombudsman) have presented unconstitutional controversies against this law before the Supreme Court.

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