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Mexico to Try 19 Military Personnel in Civilian Shootings

Mexico's Defense Department says it will put 19 soldiers on trial for the killing of three children and two women whose vehicle failed to stop at an army checkpoint.

The Department says a military court will try three officers and 16 soldiers for their alleged involvement in the June 1 shooting in the northern Sinaloa state. Three of the car's occupants survived.

Last month, opposition lawmakers and the human rights group Amnesty International urged the Mexican government not to use soldiers to perform policing tasks. They said troops lack the training to handle civilian functions and are, therefore, prone to abusing human rights.

Since taking office in December, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has sent more than 24,000 soldiers and police to battle drug gangs blamed for more than 1,000 deaths this year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.