A Catholic priest and rights activist claimed that at least 80 migrants were abducted from a north-bound train by armed gunmen in the southeast Mexico state of Veracruz.
Father Alejandro Solalinde said Monday that former tenants of his Oaxacan migrant’s shelter informed him of the kidnapping. The witnesses reportedly said that approximately 250 migrants, many from Guatemala and Honduras, were traveling on a north-bound train on Friday when it was stopped by a group of 10 armed men.
The group, who were wearing ski masks, herded their victims into at least three waiting vehicles. They reportedly appeared to target women and children.
Solalinde suspects the Zetas drug gang of carrying out the abduction. The group are thought to have been behind many recent crimes against undocumented migrants, including the slaughter of 72 in Tamaulipas in August 2010.
“Right now we are very concerned about the whereabouts of these people … We know they are being tortured. I hope the government does something soon to rescue them,” lamented Solalinde.
Migrants traveling through Mexico to the U.S. are facing increased risks, including being kidnapping and or killed if their guides have not paid fees to drug gangs who control the areas they pass through.