Nearly-two dozen people killed in Mexico gun battle

Coahuila, MX (NBC) - Clashes between security forces and suspected cartel members in northeast Mexico have left a total of 20 people dead.

The cartel members arrived at the city hall in the town of Villa Union on Saturday in a convoy of pickup trucks and staged an hour-long attack on the building.

On Sunday officials said that authorities had determined the casualty count from the gun battle that ensued between police and cartel members stood at 14 gunmen dead and four police officers killed.

Two civilians also were slain by gunmen after being abducted.

The governor said six more officers were wounded as were four young people who had been taken by the attackers.

Saturday's attack also showed cartels again resorting to quasi-military operations in a brazen challenge to state authority.

Coahuila state itself has been far from the worst-hit part of Mexico amid violence in recent years.

The government census bureau's survey of public perceptions of security found that Coahuila ranked well this year, with only three other states having a higher public perception of safety.