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Video by Susana FERREIRA

Latest update : 2009-03-01

As many as 5,000 troops are being mobilised in a crackdown on drug gangs that have plagued the border city of Ciudad Juarez. Over 1,000 people have died in drug-related crimes in Mexico since the New Year.

REUTERS - Nearly 2,000 Mexican soldiers poured into Ciudad Juarez on Saturday to restore law and order to the country's most violent city, which has been ravaged by drug gangs.


This month hitmen fighting for lucrative smuggling routes killed 250 people in the city, which is across the U.S. border from El Paso, Texas.


The soldiers are the first contingent of as many as 5,000 troops and federal police being sent to Juarez.


Almost 2,500 soldiers and federal police have been there for nearly a year, but they have failed to curb the violence plaguing the city of about 1.6 million people.


"This is to reinforce the operation in general ... to eradicate kidnappings, extortion, assaults and homicide," army spokesman Enrique Torres told Reuters.


President Felipe Calderon's military operation is supported by the United States, which is concerned the violence could destabilize Mexico, a key trading partner, and spill over the border.


Mexico has deployed some 45,000 troops across the country to try to crush drug gangs, but clashes between rival cartels and security forces killed around 6,000 people last year

Date created : 2009-03-01