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Twelve die in clashes between Mexican troops, vigilante groups

Jan. 14, 2014 at 6:03 PM

APATZINGAN, Mexico, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Nine civilians and three soldiers were killed in southern Mexico's Michoacan state when federal troops clashed with vigilante groups, officials said.

The battles Monday followed government demands the "self-defense" groups stand down in their fight against the Knights Templar drug cartel, the newspaper Reforma reported, adding seven civilians were killed in the town of Mugica, and three soldiers and two civilians were killed in Paracuaro.

The groups had taken up positions in communities around the city of Apatzingan, a stronghold of the Knights Templar with plans to drive out the cartel, the newspaper said.

Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said Tuesday it was too early to confirm a death toll, but said federal troops would enter the region to "establish legal order."

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