The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, candidate for mayor of Guadalupe y Calvo, a city in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, was apparently kidnapped by gunmen, officials said.

Jaime Orozco Madrigal has been missing since Monday night, the Chihuahua Attorney General's Office said.

"While no reports have been filed over his disappearance, there is evidence that confirms a report that the candidate was deprived of his freedom by an armed group," the AG's office said in a statement.

AG's office investigators and police from the area around Guadalupe y Calvo "are searching for Jaime Orozco Madrigal, who the PRI nominated as its candidate for mayor of this city," the statement said.

"Approximately 10 men" took the politician away in an SUV on Monday night, an AG's office spokesman told Efe.

Orozco Madrigal's whereabouts is unknown and no motive has been established for his abduction, the AG's office said.

The politician was in full campaign mode ahead of the July 7 local elections.

Seven people, meanwhile, were gunned down in separate incidents in the city of Guachochi and the community of Dolores, which is within the city limits of Guadalupe y Calvo, on Monday night, the AG's office spokesman said.

Five people were gunned down in Guachochi, while two bodies were found in the back of a car at the entrance to Dolores.

Guadalupe y Calvo, a city of about 50,000, has been plagued by violence for some time.

Gunmen killed Guadalupe y Calvo Mayor Ramon Mendivil Sotelo on Feb. 17, 2010.

Chihuahua has been one of the states most affected by the wave of drug-related violence in Mexico. EFE