MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's murder rate inched up 2 per cent in the first 10 months of the year, but the latest violence has included much more brazen challenges to authorities.

Federal officials said late Wednesday there have been 29,414 homicides so far in 2019, compared to 28,869 in the same period of 2018.

But northern border cities like Ciudad Juarez and Nuevo Laredo have seen a constant round of drug gang blockades recently, with gunmen burning buses and trucks to block roads and bridges.

The governor of the border state of Tamaulipas, where Nuevo Laredo is located, says the gangs have committed acts of "narcoterrorism."

Gov. Francisco Garcia says the gangs used civilians as "human shields."

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his administration had managed to "stabilize" the rise in killings.