Mexican mayor, bodyguard killed by gunmen in ambush

COTIJA, Mexico (Reuters) - The mayor of a western Mexican town was ambushed and killed by gunmen on Monday, shortly after the country elected its first-female president, following what was the bloodiest campaign in the country's history.

Yolanda Sanchez, the mayor of Cotija in the state of Michoacan since 2021, was shot 19 times in the town center, according to the local press.

She and her bodyguard - who was also shot - died from their wounds at a hospital later on Monday. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

"A series of threats were made to the personnel of the municipality, ... demanding that the mayor she should prevent or avoid the federal forces from carrying out [security] tasks," said Michoacan attorney general Adrian Lopez Solis in a statement on Wednesday.

Such demands could not possibly be met by the mayor, said the state attorney general, adding that there are disputes between criminal gangs for territorial control around Cotija.

Sanchez had already been kidnapped by the organized crime group Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) in 2023, while visiting the neighboring state of Jalisco.

During Mexico's general election campaign, which ended on Sunday, 39 political candidates were assassinated.

(Reporting by Ivan Escalante; writing by Stéphanie Hamel; Editing by Josie Kao)