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MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Authorities have exhumed 32 bodies and nine heads from several clandestine graves in Mexico’s violence-plagued southern state of Guerrero this week, officials said Thursday.
The remains were unearthed between Tuesday and Thursday in 17 pits on a hill in the village of Pochahuixco, part of the municipality of Zitla, 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. No arrests have been made in the case.
The bodies were found in 17 of 20 pits that were dug up by investigators. No other remains were found but soldiers are scouring the region for any other hidden graves.
No arrests were made.
Authorities had reported earlier the discovery of 19 victims but the body count rose during the day.
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 is one of the country’s most violent states and a major opium poppy grower, with theGuerreros Unidos and Los Rojos drug gangs engaged in brutal battles to control criminal operations that also include extortion.
Last weekend at least 24 people were killed in the state. The bodies of nine men, including five that were dismembered, were found on a roadside.