Kidnapped Central Americans Blame Migration Officials

By Dialogo
May 11, 2011

A group of Central American kidnap victims have accused Mexican immigration agents of handing them to their captors in northeast Mexico, an official body said.

The migrants said officials from the National Migration Institute led them off a bus as they traveled to the US border and handed them to armed men, according to the Federal Institute for Public Defenders.

The institute offered legal advice to a total 120 migrants, including 81 Mexicans and 39 foreigners — mainly Central Americans but also six Chinese — rescued in army operations in the state of Tamaulipas in April.

Tamaulipas has suffered an explosion of violence for over a year blamed on battles between security forces, the Zetas — a drug gang formed in the 1990s by ex-elite soldiers — and their former bosses, the powerful Gulf cartel.

Authorities found the bodies of 72 migrants from Central and South America in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, last August, while 183 bodies have been unearthed from mass graves in the same area since April.