By Jose Luis Gonzalez
CIUDAD JUAREZ (Reuters) – Eleven bodies were discovered on Friday in a Mexican town close to the U.S. border, days before president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is due to visit for a series of forums seeking to stem the violence in the country.
The bodies of eight men and three women were found in a home in Ciudad Juarez, the government of the northern state of Chihuahua said in a statement. It said the people were victims of homicide.
The incident may be related to clashes between criminal groups, the government added. The prosecutor’s office is investigating the killings and identities of the victims.
Ciudad Juarez was for many years one of Mexico’s most violent cities, drawing comparisons to a war zone.
The city’s crime rate has improved in recent years, but it remains dangerous due to the presence of drug trafficking and organized crime.
On Tuesday, Lopez Obrador is due to kick off in Ciudad Juarez a series of discussions aimed at promoting peace. The talks will be attended by victims of crime, authorities, academics and religious groups, among others.
Lopez Obrador, who won Mexico’s July 1 presidential election vowing to root out corruption, has promised to tackle the violence that has killed thousands of people in recent years.
(Reporting by Jose Luis Gonzalez in Ciudad Juarez, Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; writing by Julia Love, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)