Sunday, 27 June 2010 16:40

Popular Mexican singer Sergio Vega, known as "El Shaka," has been shot and killed in Sinaloa, Mexico.

What's so sad about this in a larger sense is that Shaka was only one of an estimated 20 people killed over the weekend in Mexico's drugs related crime wave.

According to several wire reports, the violence included a massacre of nine people at a drug rehab center in northern Mexico while elsewhere 10 other people were reported killed in drug-related violence.

In the drug rehab massacre, police reported gunmen entered the Fuerza Para Vivir drug treatment

 center in Gomez Palacio, a city in the northern state of Durango, around 1:40 p.m. on Saturday and opened fire, killing nine people and wounding five.

Vega, (real name José Sergio Vega Cuamea) who was known for singing about the narco-trafficers in his ballads, was born in Hornos, Sonora, located near Ciudad Obregón in Mexico.

Police said he was shot and killed in what appeared to be an assassination by a drug gang that pursued the singer as he attemped to drive away on a highway in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.

Vega was heading to Alhuey, where he planned to perform with several other artists, when gunmen who had apparently been following the singer attacked him.

The death of the 40-year-old singer, known as "El Shaka," was confirmed by businessman Jesus Tirado, who was organizing the concert at which Vega was to perform and which has been cancelled.

Judicial officials also confirmed the killing of Vega, who was traveling with another person at the time of the attack, the Mexico City daily El Universal reported on its Web site.

Several few hours before his death Vega denied that he had been the target of an attack and said that he had increased his security in light of the attacks on musicians in Mexico in recent years.

In an interview only hours before the shooting, Vega had talked about the inherent danger of his work. "I navigate through heavy themes [in my songs]," he said. "It can be a bit frightening but you have to put your faith in God."

In recent deaths, singer Carlos Ocaranza was killed last August as he left a bar where he had given a concert in the western city of Guadalajara and his agent was seriously wounded.

Ocaranza was related to Valentin Elizalde, who was murdered in November 2006 in the border city of Reynosa by drug traffickers apparently unhappy with some of his compositions, the Jalisco state Attorney General's Office said.

Elizalde and other singers play a style of music known in Mexico as grupero music, a genre that includes so-called "narcocorridos," ballads that recount the exploits and travails of drug kingpins.

In January 2008, Roberto Ignacio del Fierro Lugo, the publicist for Jesus Elizalde, Valentin's brother, was murdered near a recording studio in the Guadalajara suburb of Zapopan.

Before managing Jesus Elizalde's public relations, Del Fiero had represented Valentin.

Valentin's brothers, including Jesus, have stopped playing narcocorridos.

In December 2007, a wave of violence was unleashed against various grupero singers, such as Sergio Gomez, 34, the lead singer of Grammy-nominated band K-PAZ de la Sierra, who was kidnapped and murdered after a concert, and vocalist Zayda Peña Arjona, 28, killed by a gunman who pursued her to the hospital where she was recovering from gunshot wounds.

Additional reporting by Notimex, AP and Latino News

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