Shootouts leave 11 dead in northeast Mexico

Mexico City, May 5 (EFE).- At least 11 people, including a soldier, died in three shootouts between army troops and armed civilians in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, the state government said Sunday.

The shootouts occurred on Saturday, the Tamaulipas Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

"The first of the shootouts occurred at 2:30 p.m. in La Presa, an agricultural community south of the town of Valadeces, city of Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, where two armed civilians died," the AG's office said.

Another shootout happened in Matamoros at 6:15 p.m. near kilometer 21 of the highway that links that border city with Reynosa, leaving "six armed civilians dead," the AG's office said.

"The third shootout occurred at 7:40 p.m. in the agricultural community of Acatlan, city of Guemez, where two armed civilians and a soldier died," the AG's office said.

The Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels have been fighting for control of Tamaulipas and smuggling routes into the United States.

The war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead, or an average of 32 per day, in Mexico, officials say.

Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, deployed thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to fight drug cartels.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has continued the strategy implemented by Calderon of taking on the cartels, but he has also called for bolstering intelligence capabilities and attacking criminal organizations' entire structures, not just kingpins.