June 25, 2006

Four policemen dead in run-up to Mexico vote

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Kidnappers killed four policemen in
southern Mexico, gagging and shooting three and beheading
another in the latest attack on officers ahead of next week's
presidential election, officials said on Sunday.

Local police said the four were kidnapped last week in a
remote part of Guerrero state, home to the once-glamorous
Pacific resort Acapulco, which has become a key front in a
battle between drug traffickers and the government.

A police spokesman said a drugs gang was thought to be
behind the killings.

Attacks on police have risen ahead of Mexico's presidential
election on July 2, a hotly-contested race leaning slightly in
favor of leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Last week, three police officers and a fourth man were
decapitated in the drug-plagued city of Tijuana on the U.S.
border, their heads dumped miles apart from their bodies.

Assailants also launched near-simultaneous grenade and
machine-gun attacks on at least two police posts near the
Guerrero beach resorts of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo on Saturday,
wounding an officer, Mexico City newspaper Milenio reported.