Fourteen killed in Mexico clashes

Fourteen killed in Mexico clashesMexico City, Dec 6 - At least 14 people were killed in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon in clashes between police and alleged members of the country's powerful criminal gangs, media reported Saturday.

Two successive shootouts in the Monterrey suburb of Juarez left 12 dead late Friday, including a boss of the dreaded Los Zetas gang who was the prime suspect of having killed General Juan Arturo Esparza Garcia and four of his bodyguards last month.

The alleged criminals were travelling with three kidnap victims and tried to avoid a checkpoint by firing at the authorities.

The clashes reportedly lasted 45 minutes, and one woman unrelated to the drug trade was killed in crossfire. Eight people were arrested, while the three kidnap victims were freed.

In another Monterrey suburb, Escobedo, a group of armed men killed two police officers who were keeping watch over a detention centre and freed 23 people there, most of them believed to belong to Los Zetas.

Monterrey is one of the richest and most industrialized cities in Mexico, and it is also the third-largest metropolis in the country, after Mexico City and Guadalajara. (dpa)