Mexican mayoral candidate and five other people killed at campaign event in Chiapas state

A mayoral candidate was among the six people killed by gunfire at a political campaign event in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas on Thursday, according to the Institute of Elections and Citizen Participation (IEPC).

Lucero López Maza, the mayoral candidate for the municipality of La Concordia, was killed in the attack, which, according to preliminary investigations, was a confrontation between armed civilians. Two other people were injured, the Attorney General’s Office of Chiapas said.

This comes as political violence has spiked across the country as Mexico heads toward its largest election in history on June 2.

The Attorney General’s Office said three of the victims, one of whom was a minor, were women, and three men. All died from gunshot wounds. The investigation is ongoing as police search for the identities and whereabouts of the perpetrators.

IEPC condemned the attack, saying, “that events of this nature generate fear and uncertainty among citizens” and risked discouraging people from participating in the upcoming election.

Since the electoral process officially began in September 2023, an average of at least two people a day have suffered some type of political violence, according to private consulting firm Integralia. The official government figures are lower.

Violence has been on the rise in the southern state, which borders Guatemala, as cartels fight for control of lucrative routes for migrant and drug smuggling routes. Earlier this week, eleven people were killed in mass shootings in the neighboring municipality of Chicomuselo, the state prosecutor said.

The Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel have been engaged in a turf war in the area, with hundreds forced to flee their homes in January.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged that the region has been dealing with violent clashes recently, but claimed that the problem was being sensationalized.

“It is very unfortunate but there is a lot of profit made from murders and human pain. It is vulture season,” he said.

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