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Fourteen dismembered bodies dumped in northern Mexico

Fourteen dismembered bodies were found in a truck in the centre of a town in northern Mexico on Thursday in what appeared to be the latest atrocity committed by rival gangs battling over drug-smuggling routes, local media said.

The b odies of 11 men and three women were discovered in the sugar-cane farming town of Ciudad Mante in the south of Tamaulipas state, which borders on Texas, daily Milenio reported on its website.

Officials at the state attorney general's office could not immediately confirm the report. Tamaulipas has been one of the bloodiest battlegrounds in Mexico's drug war.

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More than 55,000 people have been killed in the conflict since President Felipe Calderon sent in the army to fight drug gangs shortly after he took office in December 2006.

Calderon's conservative National Action Party, or PAN, looks likely to lose power in the presidential election on July 1, due partly to rising frustration with the violence.

The government has blamed the turf wars between the brutal Zetas gang, founded by army deserters, and the Sinaloa cartel of Mexico's most-wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, for an escalation of killings in recent weeks.

Suspected drug cartel killers dumped 49 decapitated and dismembered bodies on a highway near the affluent northern city of Monterrey in May. Days before, 18 mutilated bodies were found near Mexico's second-largest city, Guadalajara.

At the beginning of May, the bodies of nine people were hung from a bridge and 14 other dismembered victims were found in the city of Nuevo Laredo, also in Tamaulipas state and just across the border from Laredo, Texas.

Seven people were wounded on Thursday, including a boy who was seriously hurt, when a male suspect threw a grenade into a restaurant in the town of Amecameca outside Mexico City, a state of Mexico official said.

Authorities are investigating a possible extortion attempt against the business as well as the conflict between two gangs in the area, she said.

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