Mexican mayoral candidate shot dead ahead of elections

DURANGO, Mexico (AFP) - A Mexican mayoral candidate has been found shot dead in a field after gunmen grabbed him while he attended a wake in the northern state of Durango, prosecutors said.

Ricardo Reyes Zamudio, a candidate of the leftist Citizen Movement Party in the town of San Dimas, is the latest politician to be attacked in Mexico ahead of local elections in 14 states on Sunday.

He was at a wake on Monday morning when he was kidnapped, and soldiers found him dead hours later in a rural area with several gunshot wounds, the Durango state prosecutor's office said in a statement.

San Dimas is in a mountainous region of Durango where drug cartels run marijuana and opium poppy fields.

On Saturday, a member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) running for the state legislature in the southern state of Oaxaca was seriously wounded when gunmen attacked her vehicle.

Her husband and assistant were killed in the shooting.

Two days earlier, the leader of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party in Oaxaca was found dead with three gunshot wounds to the head in the town of Tuxtepec.

In the northwestern state of Sinaloa, home to the country's most powerful drug cartel, two candidates dropped out of mayoral and legislative elections last week after a fellow candidate was gunned down.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006, including dozens of local officials.