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Mexico 2019 murder rate highest since 1997

Nearly 275,000 people have been killed in Mexico since 2006 (AFP Photo/Ulises Ruiz)

Mexico City (AFP) - There were nearly 35,000 murders in Mexico in 2019, the highest rate since 1997, the first year for which there is an official record, according to official data released Monday.

This has broken the previous highest rate, set in 2018 with 33,743 homicides.

According to a report from the Secretariat of Public Security, June had the highest rate of murders, with 2,993 victims out of a total 34,582 murders in 2019.

The 2019 rate equals an average of 95 homicides per day in Mexico, a country that has been plagued with violence since 2006, when the war on drugs was militarized.

Since then, nearly 275,000 people have been killed in Mexico, according to official figures that do not specify how many of the cases are linked to organized crime.

Leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who in December completed the first year of his six-year term, is struggling to rein in violent crime widely blamed on Mexico's drug cartels and other criminal gangs.