MEXICO: Mexican authorities rescued 22 foreigners on Tuesday, most of them Cuban and Haitian, who were earlier in the day abducted by gunmen at a hotel in the central state of San Luis Potosi, authorities say.
The gunmen also kidnapped 16 Mexicans when they ransacked the Sol y Luna hotel in Matehuala, about 195 km (120 miles) north of the city of San Luis Potosi, the regional capital.
The Mexicans were released earlier, but the foreign nationals had to be rescued in a remote area by the road between Matehuala and the regional capital, Arturo Garza Herrera, the attorney general of the state, said in a statement.
The victims, who include children and a pregnant woman, are mostly from Haiti and Cuba, Reuters news agency reported. Earlier accounts had said some were Venezuelan.
The kidnappers had arrived in three SUVs, the prosecutor’s office in San Luis Potosi state said. They also seized the hotel’s logbook of guests, complicating the search.
But officials found some of the victims’ ID cards in their rooms.
“I am going to notify the migration institute so that they can be involved since we do not know the migratory status of these people,” Garza said in a statement.
Migrants who enter Mexico hoping to cross into the U.S. face great danger on the way, with kidnappings, extortion, rape, murder or even conscription to drug cartels. Some are held until their families pay for their release.
In June, a human rights group reported that some 3,300 migrants stranded in Mexico since January due to a U.S. border policy have been kidnapped, raped, trafficked or assaulted.
The number of migrants heading for the U.S. via Mexico is said to have increased after President Joe Biden took office, promising to lift some of his predecessor Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions.