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Five die after shoot-out at Mexico City's Garibaldi Plaza

Reports suggest rival cartels may be fighting over turf in capital after clashes involving gunmen dressed as mariachis.

Five people have died after a shoot-out at Mexico City's Garibaldi Plaza, a tourist hotspot known for its mariachi bands.

On Friday evening, gunmen dressed as mariachi musicians opened fire before making a getaway on motorcycles, officials said on Saturday.

The assailants, who were armed with rifles and handguns, injured at least nine people, including a foreign national.

There is still no official information about what caused the violence but local reports suggest it might have been a confrontation between cartels fighting over the city centre.


READ MORE: Mexico's Lopez Obrador says military to keep crime-fighting role


Plaza Garibaldi borders Mexico City's Tepito neighbourhood, home to La Union gang, which police say is responsible for a number of drug-dealing and protection rackets.

The historical site is also blocks away from El Zocalo, a square where thousands went on Saturday night to see outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto deliver his farewell Independence Day speech.

The capital is on track to register a record number of homicides this year, and reversing that trend will be a priority for incoming President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The former Mexico City mayor, who will take office in December, is confident that new strategies under the city's incoming mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, will be effective.

"I am sure they will resolve the problems that are being suffered in Mexico City ... Claudia will restore peace," he told local media on Saturday when asked about plans to halt violence in the capital.

In a recent interview, Sheinbaum said her priorities are to end police corruption and implement US-style justice reform.

For the past 12 years, Mexico has fought violent drug gangs by deploying thousands of police, soldiers, and intelligence officers to crack down on cartels and their leaders.

Last year was the deadliest year in two decades, with over 23,000 homicides, an increase of 10.7 percent compared with 2016.

In 2018, there have been 18,994 murders in seven months, a 20 percent jump on the same period in 2017, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

If the trend continues, 2018 is set to be the most violent year ever in Mexico.


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