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Mexico hits back over Trump 'murder rate' jibe

Mexican Interior minister, Alfonso Navarrete Prida, seen in February 2018, responded to a comment by US President Donald Trump criticizing Mexico's murder rate
Mexican Interior minister, Alfonso Navarrete Prida, seen in February 2018, responded to a comment by US President Donald Trump criticizing Mexico's murder rate AFP/File
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Mexico City (AFP)

Mexican Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete hit back on Tuesday at Donald Trump's criticism of his country's murder rate by telling the US president to stop the flow of arms across the common border.

"If they safeguard the... border, preventing the illegal entry of arms... and money from illicit activities into Mexico, there would be an almost immediate and dramatic drop in murders," said Navarrete.

He was responding to an earlier tweet from Trump addressing one of his favorite bugbears, security along the 3,000-kilometer (1,900-mile) border between the two countries.

"One of the reasons we need Great Border Security is that Mexico's murder rate in 2017 increased by 27% to 31,174 people killed, a record!" said Republican Trump, before launching into his regular tirade against the opposition Democrats, in particular "Crooked Hilary" Clinton, whom he beat in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump wants to put a stop to illegal immigration and has made several inflammatory statements in the past about Mexicans, branding them criminals and "rapists."

Official Mexican government statistics dispute Trump's figures, with 28,711 murders registered in 2017, the highest since records began in 1997.

The situation has worsened, with another 15,973 murders over the first half of this year alone.

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