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11 dead in clash between criminal gang and villagers in central Mexico

A Mexican flag is shown in an undated file photo. (Pexels.com / Hugo Entrepreneur1) A Mexican flag is shown in an undated file photo. (Pexels.com / Hugo Entrepreneur1)
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MEXICO CITY -

Eleven people were killed in a clash Friday between gunmen from a criminal gang and residents of a small farming community in central Mexico, authorities said.

Dramatic video of the fight posted on social media showed villagers in cowboy hats with sickles and hunting rifles chasing down suspected gang members amid bursts of automatic gunfire.

Police in the State of Mexico, which abuts Mexico City, said the clash occurred in the hamlet of Texcaltitlan, about 80 miles (130 kilometres) southwest of the capital.

State police said eight of the dead were members of the criminal gang, while three were village residents. Police did not identify the gang, but the violent Familia Michoacana drug cartel has been dominant in that area for a decade.

The video appeared to show the attackers wore military-style uniforms, some with helmets. Villagers apparently set their bodies and vehicles on fire.

Local media said Familia Michoacana gunmen had shown up in the village earlier demanding local farmers pay a per-acre (hectare) extortion fee. Authorities did not immediately comment on that.

Drug cartels in Mexico have been known to extort money from almost any licit or illicit business that they can, sometimes attacking or burning ranches, farms or stores that refuse to pay.

The Familia Michoacana is known for its brazen ambushes of police as well as the the 2022 massacre of 20 townspeople in the town of Totolapan in neighbouring Guerrero state. The attack killed the town's mayor, his father and 18 other men.

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