Dec 22, 2013

Americans warned to avoid public areas in Juarez, Mexico due to violence outbreak

By Alex Hinojosa/El Paso Times

The U.S. Consulate in Juárez is urging U.S. citizens to avoid public areas because of an increase in violence.
The consulate on Friday issued a message for U.S. citizens in the state of Chihuahua to avoid areas such as shopping malls, restaurants and government buildings.
The warning was issued after gunfire was exchanged between local authorities and suspected cartel members near the intersection of Antonio Bermudez and Tomas Fernandez in Eastern Juárez, officials said.
There were also reports of an execution at a bar in downtown central Juárez, officials of consulate said.
There have been 13 people killed in the last few days.
Two people -- including a man, 79 -- were killed Friday and the body of a man was found in a vacant lot early Saturday.
Three people were killed Thursday after being beaten during a fight outside the Geisha bar on Avenida Zaragoza.
On Wednesday, six people were killed in three separate shootings, Chihuahua State Police said.
The consulate urges U.S. citizens to be aware of their surroundings and monitor local news stations for updates.
In July, the Department of State issued a travel warning to U.S. citizens in response to the violence in Mexico.
According to the warning U.S. citizens should "defer non-essential travel to the state of Chihuahua. In Ciudad Juarez personal travel by U.S. Government employees is restricted."
Despite the decrease in violence from 3,100 killings in 2010 to 748 in 2012, Juárez is still considered to have one of the highest homicide rates in Mexico. "Crime and violence remain serious problems throughout the state of Chihuahua, particularly in the southern portion of the state and in the Sierra Mountains, including Copper Canyon," according to the warning from the state department.
That warning has not been lifted.