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Lopez Obrador to reinforce security in Veracruz after massacre

media Police stationed outside the house in Veracruz where 13 people were killed in a shooting on Friday AFP

Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he would reinforce army and navy troops in Veracruz state, three days after a child was among 13 people killed in a mass shooting there.

A group of gunmen opened fire on a birthday party in the violence-wracked eastern state on Friday, killing seven men, five women and a child.

"All I want to say is that we're going to guarantee peace in Veracruz, that's my commitment," said Lopez Obrador, often known by his initials AMLO.

"We're going to reinforce with greater elements from the navy and army in Veracruz, we're going to do it in the whole country," added Lopez Obrador in his morning press conference.

The leftist leader, who assumed office in December, has come under fire for having claimed that murders had not increased during his presidency.

Official figures released last weekend showed violence had hit record levels in the first quarter of 2019, with 8,493 murders from January to March -- a 9.6 percent increase on the same period from 2018.

There were 33,500 murders last year, the highest number since records began in 1997.

Friday's shooting was carried out by one of the mafias vying for control of the drug trafficking routes in Veracruz -- involved also in fuel theft, extortion and kidnappings.

At a navy event on Sunday, Lopez Obrador defended his creation of a National Guard in his strategy to fight the violence that has engulfed Mexico since the government declared war on the country's powerful drug cartels in 2006.

Since then, Mexico has recorded almost 250,00 murders as well as 40,000 disappearances, although there are no statistics to say how many of those numbers are directly linked to drug cartels.

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