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Thirty-one migrants kidnapped in Mexico rescued by authorities

In World
January 04, 2024

MEXICO CITY -Mexican authorities have rescued 31 migrants who were kidnapped over the weekend in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, officials announced on Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson Jesus Ramirez confirmed the rescue on messaging platform X.

“They are already in the hands of the authorities and are undergoing the appropriate medical examinations,” he added, along with a photo that showed men, women and children, including one holding a stuffed animal.

The migrants were “safe and sound,” Mexican Interior Minister Luisa Alcalde wrote on X, citing information from the state’s governor.

Unknown gunmen snatched the mostly Latin American migrants on Saturday from a bus on a highway in the municipality of Reynosa, close to Mexico’s border with the United States. The bus was destined for Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas.

Mexican Security Minister Rosa Rodriguez said earlier on Wednesday that the kidnapped migrants were from Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras and Mexico.

Asylum seekers and human rights activists have for months been warning of an escalating kidnapping crisis in the Tamaulipas border region, especially in Reynosa.

The area is the site of an ongoing conflict between two factions of the powerful Gulf Cartel, known as the Metros and the Scorpions, according to a former security official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

He said that migrant smuggling and trafficking has become the most lucrative illicit industry in the region.

Earlier in the day, Rodriguez said the kidnapping was “unusual” due to the large number of victims, although it’s not uncommon for migrants to be pulled off buses and kidnapped in Mexico. Usually, the migrants are forced to beg their relatives to pay ransom money.

She added that authorities were tracking the cell phones of the migrants in efforts to find them.

In March 2019, armed men stopped a passenger bus on the San Fernando-Reynosa highway and kidnapped about 20 people. To date, their whereabouts are unknown.

In May last year, 49 migrants, including 11 minors, were released after being kidnapped in the south of Mexico while traveling by bus to the U.S. border.

A record number of migrants traveled across Central America and Mexico in 2023 aiming to reach the United States, fleeing poverty, violence, climate change, and conflict. REUTERS

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