The country saw nearly 29,000 murders last year Image Credit: Pixabay

Villagran, Mexico: An armed attack on a highway rest stop in central Mexico has left at least nine people dead in the country's latest mass killing, state and federal authorities said Saturday.

The attack occurred Friday evening in Guanajuato state when a group of heavily armed men burst into a hostel restaurant frequented by truck drivers and opened fire.

Six people died on the spot, while three others were taken to a nearby parking lot and executed, the Federal Security Directorate reported. Two other people were injured.

Police and national guardsmen cordoned off the area, but the attackers escaped, officials said.

In recent years, heavily industrialised Guanajuato has gone from being one of Mexico's most peaceful states to one of its most violent. A network of pipelines crossing the state has attracted criminal gangs trafficking in stolen fuel.

In December, three officers died in an attack on a police station in the Guanajuato town of Villagran.

Earlier this month in southern Mexico, police found 10 charred corpses in a vehicle, the presumed victims of a drug gang.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office more than a year ago promising to attack violent crime at its roots.

But the country still saw nearly 29,000 murders last year.