MORELIA, Mexico – Five men have been found dead and power has been cut to hundreds of thousands of residents of the western Mexico state of Michoacan, following clashes in which self-described "self-defense" forces are seeking to oust the Knights Templar drug cartel.
The clashes follow a daring march over the weekend by self-defense force vigilantes into the city of Apatzingan, the central stronghold of the Knights Templar.
In retaliation, gunmen believed to be linked to the pseudo-religious cartel mounted coordinated attacks on electrical facilities in 14 towns and cities throughout Michoacan on Sunday.
Vigilante leader Jose Mireles said Monday the retaliation also included an armed attack on self-defense trenches on the outskirts of Michoacan. Detectives say five men were found dead at the scene, but Mireles says there 13 deaths.