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Senior Mexican policeman shot dead

Latest update : 2008-06-27

Unknown assailants shot to death Igor Labastida, head of the Traffic and Contraband office of the Federal Preventive Police, along with one of his bodyguards in a Mexico City restaurant, Mexican officials said.

MEXICO CITY, June 26 (Reuters) - A Mexican police chief and
his bodyguard were shot to death as they ate lunch in Mexico
City on Thursday, the latest police slaying in a drug war that
has killed more than 1,600 people this year.

A heavily armed gunman burst into a restaurant in the north
of the capital and shot Igor Labastida, a regional director for
trafficking and contraband in Mexico's federal police force,
and three bodyguards, a police spokesman said.

"The aggressor entered through one of the two doors in the
restaurant and opened fire on Labastida and his companions,"
Mexico's federal police said in a statement.

Police said one bodyguard was killed and two others were
seriously injured, clarifying an earlier police report that
three police were murdered along with Labastida.

And police said a single gunmen perpetrated the attack, not
several men, as a spokesman had said earlier.

The murder of Labastida, who survived an attempt on his
life in 2003, comes amid a rash of police killings as an army
crackdown on drug cartels intensifies battles over turf and
protection rings.

Last month one of Mexico's top federal police chiefs, Edgar
Millan, was killed by hitmen linked to a powerful drug cartel
from the Pacific state of Sinaloa as he returned to his
apartment in Mexico City.

Some 500 police officers have been killed in drug violence
since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched his
military-backed anti-drug offensive in December 2006.

Calderon's deployment of some 25,000 troops and federal
police across Mexico has intensified drug violence, and gangs
appear to be targeting more top police officers in Mexico City,
who were once thought to be untouchable.

Date created : 2008-06-27