At least seven people died and five others were wounded in the Mexican town of Eduardo Neri in a lengthy shootout between community police and presumed criminals, the Guerrero State Community Police Front (FPCEG) reported Monday.
The violence erupted when at least 3,000 FPCEG members entered the Guerrero community of Filo de Caballos on Sunday afternoon and took control of security in the area, which had been besieged by criminal groups.
The FPCEG decided to open a corridor between Filo de Caballos and Casa Verde because of the local increase in prices for food and basic necessities, as well as the displacement of local residents, due to recent violence attributed to local criminals.
The first warnings and alerts by local residents were posted on social media on Sunday, but the spokesman for the Guerrero Coordination Group, Roberto Alvarez Heredia, denied that there was any tension in the area.
However, the zone on Monday was being monitored by community police and their coordinator, Humberto Moreno Catalan, told a group of media personnel that they had arrived in Filo de Caballos with the aim of pacifying the town and engaging in dialogue with other parties.
But, he said, the presumed criminals opened fire on them, sparking a clash that lasted at least four hours.
Moreno Catalan said that seven people died in the exchanges of gunfire - all of them presumed criminals - and five people were wounded.
In addition, fires were registered in two homes and other houses were hit by bullets.
Thousands of cartridge casings could be seen on the streets after the clash.
Last June, community police had called on Guerrero Gov. Hector Astudillo Flores to guarantee security in the area or they would take charge of the situation.
Despite that, violent acts continued, resulting in the suspension of medical, educational and public transport services.
After the community police arrived, state police and Mexican army troops were also deployed in the area to undertake security sweeps.