6 Mormon children among victims in Mexico attack

At least nine US citizens, three women and six children, have been killed in an attack by suspected drug cartel gunmen in northern Mexico.

The victims are members of the LeBaron family, linked to a breakaway Mormon community that settled in Mexico several decades ago.

The victims were travelling in a convoy of vehicles.

The security minister said the group could have been targeted accidentally as a result of mistaken identity.

Sinora state in northern Mexico is being fought over by two rival gangs, La Línea, which has links to the larger Juárez cartel, and “Los Chapos”, which is part of the Sinaloa cartel.

Family members who have spoken to the New York Times newspaper said two of the children killed were less than a year old.

In a tweet President Donald Trump described the victims as a group of “wonderful family and friends” who “got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other”.

In a series of posts, he said that the US “stands ready” to offer support to combat the problem of cartel violence and “do the job quickly and effectively”.

Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Mexico would act with “independence and sovereignty” in pursuing the criminals behind the attack.

As news of the attack spread, the death toll was at first unclear.

However, family members and Mexican officials have now confirmed that at least nine people were killed.

LeBaron family members were quoted as saying a group of three mothers and their 14 children had set off in a convoy of cars from Bavispe in Sonora state and were heading to La Mora in the neighbouring state of Chihuahua.

They were ambushed by gunmen in Bavispe.

A burnt-out SUV was later found by the side of the road with the remains of some victims and there were reports that other family members were shot at as they tried to flee.

Julian LeBaron, a cousin of the three women, also said seven other children managed to escape the attack.

The attack is thought to have been carried out by a drug cartel which operates between the two states.

The governments of Chihuahua and Sonora issued a joint statement saying that an investigation had been launched and additional security forces had been sent to the area. -BBC

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