Los Chapos, members of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel once led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and local group Los Mexicles clashed in a jail on Thursday afternoon, Deputy Security Minister Ricardo Mejia said.
A riot then broke out, killing two and wounding four, Mejia said, speaking alongside Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at a regular press conference. Sixteen others were injured in the fighting, he said.
Officials did not specify the cause of the clash.
Following the riot, the Mexicles ransacked the town, authorities said, killing nine civilians. Among them were four employees of a radio station, including an announcer, Mejia said.
Across the city, convenience stores were shot down and set on fire. FEMSA, the parent company of the Oxxo chain, said in a statement that one of its employees and a woman applying for a job were killed in the violence.
At around 1 a.m. Friday morning, six suspected members of Mexicles were arrested by local police, with the help of the army and national guard, Mejia said.
On Friday afternoon, some 300 army soldiers were expected to arrive in town, followed by 300 more.
“(Juarez) Mayor Cruz Perez has let us know that (the city) is now in a state of calm; public order has been restored,” Mejia said.
“We hope it won’t happen again, because innocent people were attacked,” Lopez Obrador said.
Thursday’s attacks follow clashes between cartels and the military in central Mexico that led to the burning of taxis, buses and about 20 Oxxo stores, Lopez Obrador said.
“We should not and cannot get used to this type of event,” distribution group ANTAD said. “Mexico doesn’t deserve it.”