Mitt Romney ‘Heartbroken’ for U.S. Mormon Family Massacred by Cartel

At least five dead, including infants, following attack in Mexico

Gunmen have killed up to nine members of a U.S. Mormon family, believed to be mainly children, in the latest massacre to afflict Mexico, family members said.

The ambush occurred Monday in Rancho de la Mora, in an area along the border between the States of Sonora and Chihuahua that is notorious for drug traffickers and bandits, a relative of several of the victims said.

"This is for the record", said a man's voice in an American accent, off-camera, choking up with emotion.

Reuters could not independently verify the video.

The six children killed were 8 months old, 2½, 10, 11 and 12, according to family members.

Taylor Langford, another relative, who lives in Utah, said that the attack represented a new level.

The State Department is aware of the attack, an agency spokesperson said.

Trump, who is battling to build the border wall that was his signature campaign pledge, regularly tells Mexico to do more to fight drug trafficking and illegal migration across the frontier.

Some of the victims had the last name of LeBaron, though Rosetti said they were not part of the LeBaron order. When it comes to containing cartel violence, it is not merely a domestic issue for the state of Mexico but rather, an issue that likely will demand a response from the United States, particularly as the threat of spillover violence becomes more likely. Whoever did this was aware. There were so many rounds that family members said one of the cars exploded.

He said all of the dead were US citizens, and most also held dual citizenship with Mexico.

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau said Mexican authorities confirmed the deaths to his office, as well as injuries to five children.

In 2009, Benjamin LeBaron, an anti-crime activist who was related to those killed in Monday's attack, was killed in neighbouring Chihuahua state.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador declined Trump's offer.

In recent weeks, amid criticism from other USA officials that Mexico does not have a cogent security strategy to fight rising violence, Lopez Obrador said the US must respect Mexico's sovereignty and that "officials from other countries should not offer opinions about internal issues that only concern our government". "I don't think we need the intervention of a foreign government to deal with these cases".

The U.S. Embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but President Donald Trump said the U.S. was ready to help in the investigation if asked.

However, the Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, rejected Trump's call for a "war" with the cartels, saying on Tuesday he did not think his country would need foreign help although Mexican authorities would work with their US counterparts. Lopez Obrador has emphasized anti-poverty programs as a means to reducing cartel membership, but many, including security expert Edgardo Buscaglia of Columbia University, point out that many states poorer than Mexico have lower crime rates, so poverty alone can not be to blame for the unfolding turmoil in Mexico.

The government has registered more than 250,000 homicides in the last dozen years, a lot of them related to the drug war.

"The worst thing you can have is war ... we declared war, and it didn't work ... that is not an option", he said.

Mormons of Germanic origin settled in northern Mexico in the 1920s after moving from the USA, where the religion was founded.

"All the cooperation that is needed is what I'm going to talk to Trump about", Lopez Obrador said.

The Washington Post reported in 2011, those who remained have not been able to escape the violence and insecurity plaguing the country, particularly Chihuahua. "Our prayers are with their families who have suffered such an unspeakable tragedy", Romney, a prominent member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote on social media. The LDS Church, whose members are often just referred to as Mormons, was established in the United States in the 1800s, but not all Mormons are LDS members, according to Cristina Rosetti, a scholar of Mormon fundamentalism. The practice is observed by a shrinking number of Mormons in Mexico.

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