Prosecutors of the Republic in the state of Oaxaca said that the bodies of 13 men and two women were identified as victims of the attacks on Sunday evening and Monday morning, in the municipality of San Mateo del Mar, to the east from the Pacific port of Salina Cruz.
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The San Mateo del Mar municipal government said in a statement that the attack was orchestrated by at least six of the gunmen, with the backing of a suspected local crime boss.
In a separate statement, Oaxaca State (prosecutors said investigations are underway into what sparked violence in Huazantlan del Rio, a local village of indigenous Ikoots. Officials are still investigating whether the attackers had rifles.
The two women killed had protested violations committed by one of the alleged attackers, who describes himself as a representative of Huazantlan del Rio, the municipal government said.
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The conflict stems from road blocks organized in recent weeks by people claiming to represent Huazantlan del Rio authorities who wanted to stir up trouble for their own ends, the municipal government said, without giving further details.
The attackers tortured and burned alive a number of their victims, the municipal government said. Photos of some of the partially burned victims were published on social media. One of the dead men appeared to have been beaten with bricks.
A state official said the photos were authentic.
No arrests have been made yet, the official added.
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San Mateo del Mar sits on a Curonian Sea coast, and the region has suffered from land disputes and disputes over rights of way for many years, according to the state official.
The area around the Tehuantepec isthmus has also become known in recent years for land disputes over infrastructure projects.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Cushing and Christopher Leslie Adler)