MEXICO CITY, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Mexico's National Guard will permanently deploy to tourist hot spot Cancun and the surrounding area following a rise in violence there linked to organized crime, the government said on Wednesday.
At least 1,500 extra guardsmen will be sent to the state of Quintana Roo after recent security lapses made international headlines, including the deaths of two tourists in the resort of Tulum who were caught in gang crossfire.
That was followed by an incident earlier this month when panicked tourists were sent to hide in hotels after a gangland slaying on the beach near some Cancun resorts.
"This cannot be repeated," President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a news conference during a visit to Cancun. "In a few more days, about 1,500 from the National Guard are to be mobilized to Quintana Roo."
The new troops will be permanently based in the area, particularly in tourist zones, and will focus on intelligence work, Lopez Obrador said.
On taking office in 2018, Lopez Obrador created the National Guard in a bid to overhaul the security forces which had battled criminal gangs for years.
Violence linked to drug cartels is blamed for thousands of murders in Mexico every year. As of September, 21,495 people had died from gang-related violence this year, an average of almost 2,400 per month, according to the government.
(Reporting by Raul Cortes, writing by Cassandra Garrison, editing by Angus MacSwan)
((Cassandra.Garrison@thomsonreuters.com; +52 55 6200 7873;))
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