MEXICO CITY (AP) — Four bus and taxi drivers were killed Monday in what appeared to be coordinated attacks by gunmen in the city of Chilpensango, capital of the South Pacific coast state of Guerrero.

Drug cartels fighting for control in the state have long been known to kill people for not paying “protection” fees, including drivers. In January, drivers in Acapulco and the colonial city of Taxco staged strikes to protest the deaths of their colleagues.

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State prosecutors said they were investigating Monday’s killings in streets and alleys around Chilpensego, and had received reinforcements from the military and the National Guard.

Prosecutors said the victims were members of the transportation industry, but did not say how many drove taxis and how many buses. Local media reported that at least two of the dead were drivers of privately owned bus-like minivans that were shot at in their vehicles.

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Gangs fighting for territorial control have targeted taxi and bus drivers in Mexico’s Guerrero state.

Transport workers are often shaken down by drug gangs in Guerrero state for protection payments. Some drivers are also sometimes forced to work for gangs under threats. This is despite the fact that more Army and National Guard troops have been sent to Guerrero – which was hit by Category 5 Hurricane Otis in October – than any other state. Mexico.

In late January, the tourist town of Taxco endured a one-day strike by private taxi and van drivers who faced threats from one of several drug gangs fighting for control of the area. Conditions were so bad that the police had to give people rides in the back of their patrol cars.

In early January, the central Acapulco Chamber of Commerce reported that gang threats and attacks had stopped nearly 90% of the city’s passenger vans from operating, affecting the resort’s main form of transportation.

Acapulco has been bloodied by turf wars between gangs since at least 2006.

Truck drivers are also fed up with frequent violent robberies of trucks and their cargo, in which the drivers themselves are often killed.

gave Mexican– The American Federation of Truck Drivers, along with several other industry groups, organized a demonstration Monday on a busy highway outside Mexico City against a spate of trucker deaths during highway robberies.

But the Interior Department issued a statement Sunday saying drivers had agreed to talk with federal officials about increasing security on highways, and there were only scattered protests on Monday.

Trucks have long been hijacked by thieves on highways in the Central. Mexico, but usually released the drivers and their trucks after stealing the goods they were carrying. But now, industry groups say, the gangs often kill drivers and take the trucks to lots where they are stripped and sold for parts.

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