CULIACAN, Mexico - A clash between soldiers and suspected criminals in northwest Mexico has left 12 dead, including two soldiers, a state official says.
"Ten of the dead were civilians, apparently members of an armed group, and two were soldiers... who were on patrol," said a press officer from the Sinaloa state attorney general's office, declining to be named.
Men armed with grenades and high calibre weapons attacked several military patrol vehicles on a road in the Guasave municipality of Sinaloa, home to the eponymous and powerful drug cartel, the official said.
Schools in the area, some 1500 kilometres northwest of Mexico City, suspended classes and local businesses closed after the clash.
Soldiers seized one vehicle and a burned out vehicle remained at the site, according to the prosecutor's office. Soldiers also seized weapons including a Barrett rifle which can penetrate armoured vehicles.
Sinaloa state, on the Pacific coast, is the cradle of Mexico's drug-trafficking industry and one of the worst affected areas in a wave of drug-related violence blamed for more than 50,000 deaths nationwide since 2006.