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Mexican interior secretary killed in plane crash
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Mexico's Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mourino arrives to attend a reception ceremony in Mexico City in this February 18, 2008 file photo. Mourino was killed on November 4, 2008 when a small plane he was in crashed into evening rush hour Mexico City traffic. [Agencies] 

Mexico's Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino has been killed along with eight other people in a plane crash in Mexico City.

President Felipe Calderon said he and the government had lost "one of the best colleagues and intimate friends," adding that the authorities will firmly continue combating organized crime and drug trafficking.

The accident happened at 18:30 (2330GMT) local time Tuesday. The plane came down on one of the city's busiest roads, Mayor of Mexico City Marcelo Ebrard said.

An official death toll is yet to be released, but it is believed many more people may have died on the ground.

Several vehicles were said to be damaged or completely destroyed in the crash. A fierce fire was raging at the crash site in the central part of the city.

A nearby building was also damaged and firefighters, police and soldiers were tackling the blaze, an on-scene Xinhua reporter witnessed.

The plane had flown from the state of San Luis Potosi where the secretary had signed a state agreement on legality, security and justice, a spokesman for the Public Security Secretary told Xinhua.

The Mexican army has taken control of the surrounding area. The cause of the accident remains unknown.

Mourino, 37, was born in Madrid, Spain, and was believed to have been one of President Caldero's closest advisers. He took office on January 16 and was seen as one of the Mexican government's tough guys when it came to implementing structural reforms, especially in the energy sector.

(Xinhua News Agency November 5, 2008)

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