Thirty-two migrants were rescued this week after being kidnapped on their way to the U.S. border while traveling by bus through a northeastern Mexican state where criminal gangs operate, Mexican authorities said.
The abduction took place on Saturday in Tamaulipas state, whose highways are considered among the most dangerous in Mexico due to the threat of kidnapping and extortion.
Tamaulipas governor Americo Villarreal told Milenio television that nine children were among those kidnapped, including a 1-year-old.
He said the majority of the rescued migrants were Venezuelans, and that some were Hondurans. Earlier, authorities placed the figure at 31.
Presidential spokesman Jesus Ramirez said the migrants were receiving medical care and published photos of them, including a child holding a teddy bear.
“Thanks to the coordinated effort of the government of Tamaulipas, the FGE, Sedena, National Guard and the SSPYC, the 31 migrants who were kidnapped on December 30 in 2023 were rescued,” wrote in a translated social media statement Wednesday, before the final rescue. “They are already in the hands of the authorities and are undergoing the corresponding medical examination.”
The government said earlier that according to the driver, the bus was intercepted by five vehicles, and migrants from countries including Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras and Ecuador were taken away.
The bus had left the city of Monterrey, in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon, and was headed to Matamoros across the border from Brownsville, Texas.
Abduction by criminal gangs is one of the main dangers facing migrants crossing Mexico, along with other threats including road traffic accidents and extortion by security forces.
With migration surging, in recent weeks, U.S. border police have reported around 10,000 crossings by migrants every day.