At least 21 people have been shot dead in gun battles between Mexican security forces and members of a suspected drug cartel near the Texas border.
Four police officers were killed and six injured in hour-long firefight erupted when an armed group invaded the town of Villa Union in a convoy of pick-up trucks, storming local government offices on Saturday.
The clash also claimed the lives of 10 members of the cartel. Several other people were reported missing, including staff from the mayor’s office.
Then, in a second operation, seven more suspected cartel members were shot dead by Mexican security forces.
Coahuila state Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme said the authorities had acted “decisively” in repelling the gunmen who were members of the Cartel of the Northeast.
Rapid gunfire could be heard on graphic video footage of Saturday's battle which was posted on social media.
The footage also showed vehicles alight, people frantically telling their loved ones not to venture into the street and plumes of smoke rising over the town, which has a population of 3,000.
Speaking outside the bullet-ridden town mayor’s office, Mr Riquelme said the security forces would remain in place until calm was restored.
“These groups won't be allowed to enter state territory," the government of Coahuila said in a statement.
The Villa Union battle is the latest in a series of clashes between the security forces and drug gangs.
According to the latest official figures, there have been 29,414 murders so far in 2019, compared to 28,869 in the same period of 2018.
Last month, six children and three women from an American Mormon community died after being gunned down by a drugs cartel in an ambush.
It is believed that they could have been victims of mistaken identity with the cartel mistakenly believing the convoy of vehicles belonged to a rival gang.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who was elected Mexican president a year ago, has come under mounting pressure to tackle the endemic violence in the country linked to powerful drug gangs.
In the wake of the attack on the Mormons, an offer from Donald Trump to send in the US army to tackle the cartels was turned down by the Mexican president.