MEXICO CITY (AP) – Two paramedics were murdered while transporting a patient in violent Zacatecas state in northern Mexico, authorities said Thursday.
Paramedics were from neighboring Jalisco state and were tasked with transporting a patient for treatment to a hospital in Zacatecas when they were killed on Wednesday evening. There was no immediate information as to whether the patient had been injured.
The governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, said he “strongly condemned and deplored the killings” of government health workers. Zacatecas has been the scene of bloody battles between several gangs, including the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels.
Attacks on ambulances in Mexico have sometimes occurred when armed cartel men want to kill a patient, but paramedics are usually not targeted.
Zacatecas Governor Alejandro Tello wrote in his social media accounts that the state has suffered “an unfortunate wave of violence between criminal groups.”
The murders came amid a spate of massacres and drug cartel battles this month that resembled scenes from the darker days of Mexico’s drug war from 2006 to 2012, when Zacatecas was dominated by the old Zetas cartel.
Last week, the bullet-riddled bodies of 18 men were discovered in a rural town of Zacatecas after what appeared to have been a shootout between gang members. There was evidence the confrontation involved gunmen from the country’s dominant cartels, Sinaloa and Jalisco, who use alliances with local gangs to fight in many states.
Two days earlier, the bodies of two kidnapped police officers were found hanged from a viaduct in the state capital of Zacatecas and seven people were found by bullets in a nearby town.
During the 2006-2012 war on drugs, cartels frequently spread terror by leaving piles of bodies by the roadside or by attacking the civilian population.