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Woman mayor shot dead in Mexico day after Claudia Sheinbaum's historic presidential win

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The mayor of a town in western Mexico was killed on Monday, the regional government said, barely 24 hours after Claudia Sheinbaum was elected the Latin American country's first woman president. Officials said the mayor's bodyguard was also killed in the attack.

The Michoacan state government condemned "the murder of the municipal president (mayor) of Cotija, Yolanda Sanchez Figueroa," the regional interior ministry said in a post on social media.

The murder of the woman mayor comes after Sheinbaum's landslide victory injected hope for change in a country riven by rampant gender-based violence.

Yolanda Sanchez Figueroa

Sanchez, who was elected mayor in 2021 elections, was gunned down on a public road, according to local media, with one outlet reporting she was shot 19 times outside of a gym. 

According to a statement from the Michoacan attorney general's office, Sanchez's bodyguard, identified as Jesús V., was also hit by the gunfire and died. The office said that they were attacked by gunmen inside a white truck who opened fire "from the moving vehicle and then escaped."   

Her Facebook profile says she is "defined by my preparation and the desire to make Cotija a better place to live."

Authorities have not given details on the murder, but said a security operation had been launched to arrest the killers.

The politician was previously kidnapped in September last year while leaving a shopping mall in the city of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco, which neighbors Michoacan.

Three days later the federal government said she had been found alive.

According to local media reports at the time, the kidnappers belonged to the powerful Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG), who allegedly threatened the mayor for opposing the criminal group's takeover of her municipality's police force.

Michoacan is renowned for its tourist destinations and a thriving agro-export industry, but is also one of the most violent states in the country due to the presence of extortion and drug trafficking gangs. In March, three farmers were killed by a bomb apparently planted in a dirt road in Michoacan -- just days after Mexico's outgoing president acknowledged that an improvised explosive device killed at least four soldiers in what he called a "trap" likely set by a cartel.

Election marked by bloodshed

At least 23 political candidates were killed while campaigning before the elections -- including one mayoral hopeful whose  murder was captured on camera last week. Alfredo Cabrera's death came just one day after a mayoral candidate in the central Mexican state of Morelos was murdered.

The week before that, nine people were killed in two attacks against mayoral candidates in the southern state of Chiapas. The two candidates survived.

Last month, six people, including a minor and mayoral candidate Lucero Lopez, were killed in an ambush after a campaign rally in the municipality of La Concordia, neighboring Villa Corzo.

One mayoral hopeful was shot dead last month just as she began campaigning.

Around 27,000 soldiers and National Guard members were deployed to reinforce security on election day.

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