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32 bodies, 9 skulls found in Mexico mass graves

Authorities have exhumed 32 bodies and nine heads from several clandestine graves this week in a southern Mexican state plagued by kidnappings and murders, officials said.

The remains were unearthed between Tuesday and Thursday in 17 pits on a hill in the village of Pochahuixco, part of the municipality of Zitlala, a region beset by turf wars between drug cartels.

“The discoveries are terrible,” Guerrero state security spokesman Roberto Alvarez said, adding that the victims include 31 men and one woman.

The remains were taken to the state capital, Chilpancingo, to be identified, Alvarez said in a statement issued on Thursday. No arrests have been made in the case.

The bodies were found in 17 of 20 pits that were dug up by investigators. Seven were found on Tuesday, five on Wednesday and the rest on Thursday in various states of decomposition. No other remains were found but soldiers are scouring the region for any other hidden graves. No arrests were made.

Drug cartels have been burying their victims in hidden graves across the country for years, and authorities regularly find human remains.

At the border between the western states of Jalisco and Michoacan, for instance, 75 bodies were unearthed from 37 clandestine graves between late 2013 and early 2014.

Guerrero has been plagued by a series of mass kidnappings, including 12 people abducted in the municipality of Ajuchitlan del Progreso last week.

The clandestine graves were found after authorities received an anonymous tip about a camp where people were being held, Alvarez said.

When they arrived at the site on a hill, they found a kidnap victim as well as two cars, a motorcycle and bulletproof vests.

Soldiers and police also found four heads inside a cooler that could be linked to nine bodies that were found on a roadside in the town of Tixtla a few days ago, he said.
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