A group of suspected cartel hit men intercepted an ambulance in northern Mexico and abducted four people who had been wounded in a shootout, authorities said.

The four patients, who had been wounded in a firefight pitting two groups of gunmen in the town of Guadalupe y Calvo, were being rushed to a hospital when they were forced off the ambulance Thursday night in the town of Parral and taken away in an SUV, Carlos González, spokesman for the Chihuahua state Attorney General's Office, told Efe.

In a separate incident, two men who were traveling in an SUV on the road leading to Guadalupe y Calvo were wounded early Friday when armed men who had set up an illegal checkpoint fired at them for not stopping.

One of the victims was shot in the head, while the other was wounded in the hip, state authorities said in a press release.

On June 11, a candidate for mayor of Guadalupe y Calvo was kidnapped and killed by a group of gunmen, while in 2010 assailants shot and killed the incumbent mayor of that town, located in the southeastern part of Chihuahua.

Chihuahua has been one of the Mexican states hardest hit in recent years by organized crime-related violence. 

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