Mayoral Candidate and Five Others Killed at Campaign Rally

( – Election fever in Mexico has gripped some in deadly ways after election-related violence broke out in the country’s southern region.

Lucero López Maza, who was running for mayor in the Mexican state of Chiapas, was gunned down in an armed confrontation at a pollical rally in La Concordia, a rural town in Chiapas. Five other people were killed – including a nine-year-old girl – while two other individuals were injured. Prosecutors described the incident as a “confrontation between armed civilians.”

Electoral violence has become so common in the area that police say that it is unclear whether Maza killing was a targeted attack or was simply a confrontation that got out of hand.

In the municipalities of Villa Corzo and Mapastepec in Chiapas, two other mayoral candidates were attacked, but both survived. One of the intended targets was identified as Nicolás Noriega, who was wounded in the attack. Five people from his campaign, however, were not as fortunate.

Chiapas, which is less than 100 miles from the border with Guatemala, is considered to be one of the major routes drug cartels use to smuggle both drugs and illegal immigrants on the way to the U.S. Tensions in the area have become even higher due to a power struggle between two competing drug cartels. Just a few days before, 11 people, including an entire family, were executed in Chicomuselo, Chiapas. The killers even went as far as burning the bodies of the family they murdered.

Roman Catholic Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas also says that people are killed because they refuse to leave their homes or join the armed criminal gangs in the area. Many criminal enterprises have taken hold even of ostensibly legitimate undertakings in the area – in 2013, it was reported that a cartel called the Knights Templar took full control of the iron ore mining industry in the area, and was even exporting its products to China.

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