Tourists flee battle between rival Mexican groups

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A group of tourists, including foreigners, were rescued by helicopter after a gunfight erupted over a checkpoint that collects tourist fees, killing one person, local officials said.

The 17 tourists were visiting the waterfalls of Chiapas in southern Mexico when shooting broke out between rival groups of locals -- one supporting the powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the other supporting leftist Zapatista rebels, state officials said late Thursday.

The tourists included visitors from France, Canada and Argentina, a source at the prosecutor's office told AFP.

The tourists had been holed up since Wednesday in the tourist center at the Aguas Azules cascades in Chiapas while the clashes raged.

One man was shot to death with a rifle, and another was seriously wounded, the prosecutor's office said, giving no further details.

Police finally took control of the checkpoint, which has been controlled by Zapatista sympathizers for the past three years, local officials said.

© 2011 AFP

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