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Another Friday, another 21 dead in Mexico

The Americas Post - Friday doesn't always mean happy hour in Michoacan. Photo credit to: Notimex

Mexican authorities report that at least 21 people were killed Friday in three firefights between soldiers and gunmen and a fight between rival drug gangs.

A minimum of 15 deaths resulted from three shootouts in the western state of Michoacan, according state prosecutor spokesman Jonathan Arredondo.

Arredondo said 10 gunmen were killed in a clash with an army patrol that was attacked in Patzcuaro, an area of Michoacan popular with tourists. Five others died in two smaller battles in Michoacan, with one federal police officer wounded.

It was in Michoacan that President Felipe Calderon launched his armed offensive against organized crime in 2006.  Gubernatorial elections are scheduled there for Nov. 13.   The local violence has been blamed in large part on a pseudo-religious drug cartel known as La Familia, and more recently to a spinoff gang called The Knights Templar.

In the northern state of Sinaloa, six people died Friday in a firefight between two groups of armed men on a highway in the town of Guamuchil, according to assistant state prosecutor Martin Robles.

All six were taken to a funeral home, where gunmen later burst in to remove three bodies. The other three victims may have been bystanders caught in the crossfire, Robles said.

Sinaloa is home to the drug cartel of the same name.