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Mexican soccer match abandoned after shoot-up

posted 21 Aug 2011, 08:30 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 21 Aug 2011, 08:33 ]
Fans and players run for cover and a first division soccer match is suspended after gunshots are heard near a stadium in northern Mexico.

TORREON, MEXICO (AUGUST 21, 2011) REUTERS -   A soccer match in Mexico's first division was abandoned on Saturday (August 20) after a shootout just outside a stadium in the northern city of Torreon forced

players and spectators to take cover.

Players ran to their dressing room and fans dived for cover when shots rang out near the end of the first half of the scoreless game between Santos and Monarcas Morelia. Match officials suspended the game in the 40th minute.

The attorney general of the state of Coahuila, Jesus Torres, said the shooting began after three vehicles with armed men failed to stop at a military checkpoint outside the

stadium, prompting an exchange of fire.

The Mexican Defense Ministry later issued a statement saying army personnel were not involved in the incident and only arrived at the scene later.

One police officer was wounded in the shooting, although no one was hurt inside the stadium, where a crowd of around 20,000 had turned up to watch the match.

Nobody had been arrested so far in connection with the shooting, authorities said.

Drug-related violence in northern Mexico has cost thousands of lives in the past few years, although it was not clear if the shooting was linked to organized crime.

About 42,000 people have died in drug-linked killings in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon went to war on drug cartels shortly after taking office in late 2006.

Saturday's incident was the first time a soccer match in Mexico's top-flight division had to be suspended due to violence since Calderon became president.