MEXICO CITY, April 4 — Ten suspected criminals were killed in two armed clashes in southern Mexico, one of them involving the National Guard, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said yesterday.

Chiapas state, where the shootouts took place, draws tourists with its lush jungle, Indigenous communities and ancient Mayan ruins.

But the region, which borders Guatemala, has been shaken by turf wars between rival gangs fighting for control of drug and people-smuggling routes.

Lopez Obrador denied information given by local rights group Fray Bartolome de Las Casas HRC that a clash between the National Guard and gunmen had left 25 people dead, including civilian bystanders.

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Five alleged criminals were killed in a shootout between gangs over the weekend and five others died in a confrontation with the National Guard, he said at his daily news conference.

Weapons were seized and 13 suspects detained, including citizens of Guatemala, Lopez Obrador added.

Armed clashes between criminal gangs and security forces are common in Mexico, which has recorded nearly 450,000 murders since launching a controversial anti-drug military operation in 2006. — AFP

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