PanaTimes

Monday, Jun 05, 2023

Migrants tell of mass kidnappings in Mexico before crossing into the U.S.

Migrants tell of mass kidnappings in Mexico before crossing into the U.S.

Many of the hundreds of migrants who crossed the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez into El Paso this week were part of a group kidnapped in Mexico as they made their way to the United States, according to nine migrants interviewed by Reuters.

Testimony from the nine migrants suggests there were multiple kidnappings across several days in the northern state of Durango, with people taken to at least two main locations and held against their will while ransoms were demanded.

The kidnappings are a stark reminder of the dangers faced by migrants as they travel across Mexico, crisscrossing areas rife with drug violence and weak rule of law.

Most of the kidnapped migrants were Nicaraguans, who have been leaving their homeland in growing numbers to claim asylum and pursue better economic opportunities in the United States, encouraged by the knowledge they are unlikely to be immediately deported due to frosty relations between their government and Washington.

The incidents appear to comprise one of the biggest known mass kidnappings in Mexico in recent years, said Stephanie Leutert, an immigration expert at the University of Texas at Austin.

Four migrants said people in police uniforms stopped the buses they were traveling in and attempted to extort them for between 200 pesos ($10) and 5,000 pesos ($255), before entire busloads were taken by armed men to nearby properties where they were held against their will.

Durango's state security office said it had not received complaints of state police officers involved in the kidnapping and that municipalities were responsible for their own officers. The Durango prosecutor's office said it had not opened an investigation because it had not received any complaints but confirmed rescues had taken place on Dec. 5 and 7.

In one incident, Mexico's Migration Institute (INM) said that along with the Army and National Guard it had freed more than 250 people from a property in the Durango town of Ciudad Lerdo on Dec. 5. The National Guard confirmed the details in a separate statement.

In another incident, six migrants Reuters spoke to described being held captive for several days. Two of them specified that they were rescued along with hundreds of other migrants by Mexican federal law enforcement on Dec. 7, and then began walking north on highways.

Fernando Reverte, president of Mapimi, a municipality which the migrants passed through after their capture and release, said the group of kidnapped migrants totaled about 1,500.

Mario Rizo, one of the migrants who said he was kidnapped, said he believed his bus was stopped in the area of the adjacent cities of Gomez Palacio and Lerdo by people in a municipal police patrol truck. Two other migrants also said they had seen people in municipal police uniforms during the kidnapping.

The head of the public safety unit in Gomez Palacio, Ivan Torres, confirmed at least 300 people had been rescued on Dec. 7 from a rural site in the area but that his officers had not been involved in the kidnapping. The Lerdo mayor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters could not verify the total number of people who were kidnapped in the region last week. Migrant estimates of the different incidents, combined with the INM figure, suggests it was over 1,000.

Authorities have not announced anyone caught or charged with kidnapping.


'REACHED THE END'


Kidnappers rationed meager food and water, prioritizing women and children, the migrants told Reuters. They said they spent chilly nights sleeping on floors without blankets in what appeared to be an event hall. Kidnappers yelled at them to stay quiet.

"I sincerely felt I had reached the end ... that I wasn't going to survive," said Rizo, who is now in El Paso, Texas.

On Dec. 7, according to Rizo, the kidnappers departed quickly after they appeared to spot authorities outside. The migrants broke down the building's front door, and found members of the National Guard, the Army and the INM outside.

The Army and INM did not respond to requests for comment about the Dec. 7 rescue, while the National Guard said it participated as it did on Dec. 5.

Byron Montiel, a Nicaraguan migrant also now in El Paso, showed Reuters a receipt of a money transfer that he said a relative sent to the kidnappers, and text messages from a kidnapper to one of his relatives demanding money.

By Sunday, the group of migrants had traveled to Mexico's northern border, where they formed a long queue alongside the border wall, in one of the largest attempted group crossings in recent years.

Leutert said the incident was one example of what migrants went through in the long journey to reach the United States.

"This kidnapping and others show the risks that migrants face in Mexico and all the different groups trying to make money off of them," she said.

($1 = 19.5774 Mexican pesos)

AI Disclaimer: An advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system generated the content of this page on its own. This innovative technology conducts extensive research from a variety of reliable sources, performs rigorous fact-checking and verification, cleans up and balances biased or manipulated content, and presents a minimal factual summary that is just enough yet essential for you to function as an informed and educated citizen. Please keep in mind, however, that this system is an evolving technology, and as a result, the article may contain accidental inaccuracies or errors. We urge you to help us improve our site by reporting any inaccuracies you find using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page. Your helpful feedback helps us improve our system and deliver more precise content. When you find an article of interest here, please look for the full and extensive coverage of this topic in traditional news sources, as they are written by professional journalists that we try to support, not replace. We appreciate your understanding and assistance.
Newsletter

Related Articles

PanaTimes
Close
0:00
0:00
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
Drone Attack on Moscow's Wealthiest Neighborhoods Suspected to be Launched by Ukraine
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Hold Power Talks with President Biden in Washington
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
Prominent Hacker Forum RaidForums Suffers Substantial Data Breach
Nvidia CEO Huang says firms, individuals without AI expertise will be left behind
WPP Revolutionizes Advertising with NVIDIA's AI Powerhouse
Two US Employees Fired For Chasing Robbers Out Of Store As They Broke ''Company Policy''
If you donated to BLM, you got played
Pfizer, the EU, and disappearing ink - Smoke, Mirrors, and the Billion-Dose Pfizer Vaccine Deal: EU's 'Open Secret
Actor Tom Hanks told Harvard University graduates to be superheroes in their defense of truth and American ideals, and to resist those who twist the truth for their own gain
The Sussexes' Royal Rebound: Could Harry and Meghan Markle Return to the UK?
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
France Arrests 10 on Suspicion of Failing to Respond in Time to Migrant Drowning
Neuralink Receives FDA Approval for First-in-Human Clinical Study
Saudi Arabia and Canada Restore Diplomatic Relations
Bernard Arnault Loses $11.2 Billion in One Day as Investors Fear Slowdown in US Growth Will Reduce Demand for Luxury Products
Russian’s Wagner Group leader: “I am not a chef, I am a butcher. Russia is in danger of a revolution like in 1917.”
TikTok Sues Montana Over Law Banning the App
Ron DeSantis Jumps Into 2024 Presidential Race, Setting Up Showdown With Trump
Last Walmart in North Portland Closing Down
Florida's DeSantis seeks to disqualify judge in Disney case
Talks between US House Republicans and President Biden's Democratic administration on raising the federal government's $31.4tn debt ceiling have paused
Disney has canceled plans to build a new campus in Florida worth almost $1 billion
Biden Administration Eyeing High-Profile Visits to China: The Biden Administration is heating things up by looking into setting up a series of top-level visits to Beijing by top officials in the coming months
New evidence in special counsel probe may undercut Trump’s claim documents he took were automatically declassified
A French court of appeals confirmed former President Nicolas Sarkozy's three-year jail term for corruption and influence peddling
Debt Ceiling Crises Have Unleashed Political Chaos
Weibao Wang, a former software engineer at Apple, was charged with stealing trade secrets related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars
Mobile phone giant Vodafone to cut 11,000 jobs globally over three years as new boss says its performance not good enough
Elon Musk compares George Soros to Magneto, the supervillain from the Marvel Comics series.
Warren Buffett Sells TSMC Shares Over Concerns About Taiwan's Stability
New Study Finds That Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia Is a Major Cause of Death in COVID-19 Patients Who Require Ventilator Assistance
King Charles III being crowned.
'Godfather Of AI' Geoffrey Hinton Quits Google To Warn Of The Tech's Dangers
A Real woman
Vermont Man Charged with Stalking After Secretly Tracking Woman with Apple AirTag
Elon Musk Statements About Tesla Autopilot Could Be 'Deepfakes,' Lawyers Claim. Judge Evette Pennypacker Does Not Understand How Far and Advanced This Technology Became
Ukraine More Prepared for Counterattack as Reinforcements Arrive
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni Discuss Migration, Defence, and Ukraine
Tucker Carlson is back, soon!
AT&T's Successful Test of Satellite-Based Phone Call Raises Possibility of Widespread Coverage
CNN: "Joe Biden is asking for four more years — when 74% of Americans think the country is heading the wrong way“
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Cuts Short Live TV Interview Due to Health Issue
US Congresswoman threaten Twitter Files journalist with arrest
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh slams New York Times' pro-government stance and treatment of sources
Enough is enough: it's time to end the war in Ukraine. While Russia may be to blame for starting it, Russia is not the one refusing to stop it
Fox News Settles their case with Dominion Voting Systems for a staggering $787.5 MILLION
The land of the free violence
Speaker Kevin McCarthy
×