Mexico confirms 4 Americans kidnapped in northern border region
Mexico City, Mar 6 (EFE).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador confirmed Monday that an armed group kidnapped four American citizens in Matamoros, a city located across the border from Brownsville, Texas.
“Yes, (it’s been confirmed that an armed group kidnapped them). They’re people from the United States who, (based on) the information we have, crossed the border to buy medication in Mexico,” the head of state, known as AMLO, said in response to a reporter’s question at his daily press conference. “There was a confrontation between groups and they were detained.”
He also referred to an FBI notice on Sunday in which that US agency asked for help in identifying those responsible for the assault and kidnapping and offered a $50,000 reward for the return of the victims and the arrest of the perpetrators.
According to the initial account of the crime by US investigators, the four abducted Americans crossed into Matamoros on Friday in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates and soon afterward came under attack by unidentified gunmen.
That account also said a Mexican citizen was killed in the incident.
The FBI “is mainly working with the security and civilian protection secretary, with Rosa Icela (Rodriguez). They’re in communication. I hope that more complete information is provided about this later,” AMLO said.
The kidnappings occurred amid a wave of violence in Tamaulipas, a northeastern state where a turf war is raging among rival drug cartels.
The US currently advises its citizens not to travel to that state due to crime and kidnapping, noting that criminal groups target buses and private vehicles traveling through Tamaulipas and frequently take passengers hostage and demand ransom payments.
In the press conference, AMLO said “the whole government is working on it,” adding that “I think it will get resolved.”
“The governor (of Tamaulipas, Americo Villarreal) is working on that. We’re in constant communication with him, all day long” on Sunday.
The US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, issued a statement on Monday in which he said that “US law enforcement officials from numerous agencies are working with Mexican authorities at all levels of government to secure the safe return of our compatriots.”
“We have no greater priority than the safety of our citizens – this is the US government’s most fundamental role,” he added. EFE