OAXACA, Mexico — Attackers shot eight men to death and piled their bodies in a pickup truck in the southern state of Oaxaca, and gunmen kidnapped the mayor of a city on the outskirts of the northern industrial hub of Monterrey, Mexican authorities said Monday.
It was unclear whether Mexico's drug gangs were responsible for the Oaxaca killings or the kidnapping of Mayor Edelmiro Cavazos of the city of Santiago, in the northern border state of Nuevo Leon.
But Nuevo Leon state prosecutor Alejandro Garza described the abducted mayor as "leading the front and showing his face in the fight against organized crime." He said no ransom demand had yet been received.
Garza said the mayor was taken from his home around midnight by men wearing uniforms from a police agency that was dissolved years ago. A security guard for the mayor who was released shortly after the abduction reported the crime.
The area around Monterrey has been wracked by bloody drug gang turf battles, and attacks on political figures by drug gangs — once extremely rare — have become more commonplace.
In June, gunmen believed linked to a drug cartel assassinated the front-running candidate for governor of the border state of Tamaulipas, and a month earlier gunmen killed a candidate for mayor of a Tamaulipas town.
Police said the Oaxaca victims were apparently on a hunting trip in a rural part of Oaxaca near the Gulf coast when they were attacked. The state prosecutors' office said they were shot in the head and found Sunday. One was 15 years old.
The motive was under investigation, but the region has been wracked by drug violence, land disputes and other feuds.
In the border city of Ciudad Juarez, meanwhile, at least nine people were killed in attacks by gunmen on two parties Sunday.
Five men were slain when gunmen burst into a house in a low-income neighborhood where a birthday party was being held and opened fire. Dozens of shells from the type of assault rifle favored by drug gangs were found at the scene.
Prosecutors said that in the other attack Sunday evening, gunmen killed three women and a man at another party. Prosecutor's spokesman Arturo Sandoval said the gunmen arrived in three vehicles, blocked off the street where the pool party was being held, and opened fire with assault rifles on a group of about 15 people.
Elsewhere in Ciudad Juarez, the bound, bullet-ridden bodies of four men were found dumped on a roadside.
Drug violence has taken more than 1,400 lives in Ciudad Juarez — and 28,000 nationwide — since the government stepped up its offensive against drug cartels in late 2006.
On Sunday, Proceso magazine published the first death-scene photos to emerge of one of the higher-profile victims: drug lord Ignacio Coronel, killed in a clash with soldiers on July 29.
The photos — Proceso did not say where it got them — show Coronel fully clothed, lying in a pool of blood and near what appears to be a pistol.
The military has been cautious about the release of such images since pictures showing drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva with his pants down and blood-soaked money scattered over his chest emerged shortly after he was killed in a shootout with marines in December.
In weekend violence, assailants threw grenades at offices of the Televisa network in Monterrey and the border city of Matamoros. Nobody was hurt.
In the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, police reported Sunday they found the bound, burned remains of a body with a federal police badge.
Veracruz detective Ricardo Carrillo Almeida said the victim appeared to have been tortured, and authorities were working to identify him. A federal police officer was reported missing in the area several days earlier.
(This version CORRECTS location of grenade attack)