06/27/11— Roman Catholic Priest Alejandro Solalinde, who runs the Oaxacan based Brothers Along the Road (Hermanos en el Camino) migrant shelter, has stated that more than 60 Central American migrants were kidnapped on Friday June 24, suspecting that most of them had travelled from Guatemala and Honduras. He received notice of the incident from a few of the migrants who managed to escape from their capturers. Prosecutors in the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz stated that they have no information regarding the kidnapping.
According to Solalinde, the migrants were allegedly kidnapped while traveling on a northbound train in Mexico headed for the United States. With 250 passengers originally on board, the train left Oaxaca and was headed towards the state of Veracruz when it was stopped after about four hours later by three trucks of gunmen who blocked the tracks. Solalinde noted that women and children were not only among the estimated 60 migrants kidnapped, but witnesses and the passengers who escaped claimed they seemed to be the first ones targeted by the gunmen. The gang members threatened and eventually forced the migrants into their trucks. Solalinde added that he suspected the Zetas criminal organization to be behind the kidnapping. Cartels and organized crime groups have targeted migrants in the recent past, as they “often try to extort money from the immigrants’ families or force them to work as drug mules or in other tasks,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
The National Human Rights Commission of Mexico (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos) has ordered an immediate investigation of Father Solalinde’s allegations and, if found to be true, they have ordered the rescue of the missing migrants. The Federal Attorney General’s Office (Procuradurá General de la República) said that it would also investigate the case.