Twenty-two foreigners including three minors and a pregnant woman were rescued on Tuesday after being kidnapped by armed men at a hotel in Matehuala, San Luis Potosí, the state Attorney General’s Office (FGE) said.
The victims, most of whom were Cubans and Haitians, were abducted from the Sol y Luna Hotel early on Tuesday. Sixteen Mexicans were also kidnapped from the same hotel but were later released.
Witnesses said the gunmen arrived in three pickup trucks and damaged hotel rooms and threatened employees in addition to abducting guests. The kidnappers reportedly removed the hotel’s guest registry, hindering authorities’ efforts to establish the identity of the victims.
Attorney General Federico Arturo Garza Herrera said federal, state and municipal authorities rescued the foreigners in an unpopulated area on a road between Matehuala and San Luis Potosí city. He didn’t reveal details of the rescue or say whether any of the victims were hurt. The official said they would be transported to the capital for psychological and medical treatment and to eat.
“… I’m going to notify the National Immigration Institute … given that we don’t know the migratory status of these people. We will review their nationality as we know there are Haitians and Cubans, but … we were also informed there were Venezuelans as well,” Garza said.
The Mexican victims were found outside a store in an undisclosed location after the FGE received an anonymous tip.
The identity of the armed men and the motive for their crime remained unclear on Wednesday morning. San Luis Potosí authorities are investigating the crime and seeking to detain the perpetrators.
Migrants traveling through Mexico en route to the United States are frequently targeted by organized crime groups, and many have become victims of kidnapping, extortion, rape and murder. Some migrants are forcibly recruited to the ranks of criminal gangs.
The United States-based organization Human Rights First reported in late June that 3,300 crimes has been documented against migrants in Mexico this year. The offenses included kidnappings, rape, human trafficking and assault.
Record numbers of migrants, including large numbers of Haitians, have crossed the southern border into Mexico this year, placing agencies such as the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance and the National Immigration Institute under severe pressure, especially in and around Tapachula, Chiapas.
With reports from Reforma and Reuters
Source: Mexico Daily News