Mexico City (Jagran News Network): A month after taking charge of the police force in one of the country’s most violent cities, Manuel Farfan, a former brigadier general in the army, died on Thursday in a spray of bullets along with four of his bodyguards and his private secretary.

The 55-year-old had been appointed police chief in Nuevo Laredo, on the Texas border. He was one of 11 retired military officers appointed in the past year as local chiefs to monitor security in disturbed Tamaulipas State, a recent epicenter of smuggling and drug trafficking organisations against which the state have been fighting since last year.

The former police chief in Tijuana was an army officer known for stern actions against crime but also accused by human rights groups for using excessive force.

The incident of Farfan resembles the killing of the police chief in Nuevo Laredo in 2005 just hours after he took office.

The police gave no motive behind Farfan’s slaying, but it shows the signs of an organised crime attack, delivered with high-powered weapons as he drove home in his pickup truck.

In January, Farhan announced a list of 50 extortionists the police would hunt down, in part by posting their pictures around town. He also ensured to fire officers who could not pass polygraphs and other confidence tests.

Mexican government records show that 115 people were killed in Nuevo Laredo last year in violence related to organised crime, a significant increase from the 12 tallied in the city in 2009.

Egidio Torre Cantu, the Governor of Tamaulipas who took office January 1, pledged a crackdown on organised crime. His brother, Rodolfo, was assassinated in June while running for Governor.