Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico rescues more than 100 kidnapped migrants

Ten-year-old Marco Carrasco, a migrant from Guatemala, stands outside the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe while holding a cross during an annual human rights protest over Central American citizens crossing overland towards the United States, in Mexico City on 18 April 2015. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There have been protests in Mexico over the dangers that exist for Central American migrants

Police in Mexico have rescued more than 100 migrants kidnapped by a human trafficking gang near the capital.

Reports said some of the migrants had been held hostage for five weeks in a house in Mexico State.

Most of the victims were Central Americans, but they also included people from India and Sri Lanka.

The migrants had been trying to reach the US illegally when they were captured by a gang who demanded cash from their relatives.

Five human traffickers were arrested in the town of Axapusco after the raid on Wednesday, said government officials.

Nearly 100 agents were involved in the operation to rescue the victims, who included some 14 children.

Local media reported that those freed are from Guatemala (33), El Salvador (23), India (23), Honduras (18), and Sri Lanka (five).

Electric fence

Police said they had been alerted by a Guatemalan man who had escaped from the house, but since their release some of the migrants have accused him of being in league with the people smugglers.

Alfredo Morquecho, head of Axapusco's security commission, told El Universal (in Spanish) that the migrants were in relatively good condition considering the circumstances.

The newspaper reported that the gang had installed an electrified wire fence around the property to prevent anyone from escaping.

The Mexican government has said it will repatriate the migrants.

Every year, thousands of people enter Mexico illegally to try and make their way into the US.

The journey is extremely dangerous and human rights organisations say that migrants are being increasingly targeted by criminal organisations.

In 2010, 72 migrants were massacred in Tamaulipas state and buried in shallow graves by the drug-trafficking cartel Los Zetas after their families failed to pay a ransom.

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