Friday, June 14, 2024

Authorities report rescue of 61 migrants in Reynosa

Sixty-one Central and South American migrants have been rescued in the Balcones de Alcalá neighborhood of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, two weeks after a separate group of migrants was abducted, and later released, in the same area.

The Tamaulipas state government reported that the migrants were found on Wednesday night, following investigations by members of the Eighth Military Zone and the state Attorney General’s Office. No details were given on the rescue operation or the circumstances of the kidnapping.

Tamaulipas state security forces established checkpoints on roadways around Nuevo Laredo in response to the shootings.
Tamaulipas highways have often been unsafe for migrants in transit to the United States. (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Tamaulipas)

The 61 people were from Guatemala, Ecuador and El Salvador. The state government affirmed that they have been provided with medical attention and are in good health. They have also received legal advice ahead of a review of their migratory status. 

Unaccompanied minors in the group will be transferred to regional social services.

The state government said that the rescue was thanks to enhanced surveillance and investigation work across Tamaulipas’ 10 border municipalities, in response to the Dec. 30 abduction of 32 Venezuelan and Honduran migrants. That abduction occurred on a bus traveling on the Reynosa-Matamoros highway, in the municipality of Río Bravo when a group of armed men in five pickup trucks intercepted the bus and forced the migrants to disembark.

According to a report by federal security minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez, they were then taken to a property where they were stripped of valuables and held for five days, while a ransom was demanded for their release.

Migrant rescue in Tamaulipas
A separate group of migrants kidnapped from a bus on the highway between Matamoros and Reynosa was released last week. (Gildo Garza/X)

The group was eventually released in a shopping center parking lot on Jan. 3, where they were picked up by authorities – which was initially reported as a rescue. President López Obrador has emphatically denied allegations that state police were n involved in the kidnapping.

Although no details have yet been reported on the most recent case, the Tamaulipas state government warned that criminal gangs have been targeting  buses operated by passenger transport lines Grupo Senda and Ómnibus México near the border with the United States.

Migrant abductions are becoming increasingly common as an additional source of income for organized crime groups. According to a report by Milenio newspaper, more than 300 migrants were kidnapped last year, in the states of Chihuahua, San Luis Potosí, Chiapas, Sonora and Tamaulipas.

With reports from Heraldo de México and La Jornada Maya

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