Thirty-one migrants have been rescued in Mexico after a group of armed and masked gunmen kidnapped them from a bus traveling to the border with Texas over the weekend, Mexican authorities said Wednesday.
Presidential spokesman Jesús Ramírez said in a post on X that the army and national guard helped carry out the rescue operation. He said the migrants were under the care of authorities and undergoing medical examinations.
Mexico’s Interior Secretary Luisa Alcalde also confirmed the rescue, without giving further details about how or where the rescue operation occurred.
Officials did not immediately provide any details about the armed group that carried out the abduction or about the rescued migrants.
The bus carrying 36 people was intercepted near Rio Bravo on Saturday on the highway that connects the border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros, which sits across from Brownsville, Texas, Federal Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez said earlier Wednesday.
The armed group forced all the migrants off the bus and abducted 31 of them in five vehicles, Rodríguez said. The abducted migrants were from Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras and Mexico.
The search for the kidnapped migrants included tracking their cell phones, reviewing surveillance video from the bus and an air search of the area via helicopter, Rodríguez said.
Organized crime groups that control the border area regularly kidnap migrants to hold them for ransom, with large abductions previously occurring in Tamaulipas state.
In March 2019, 22 people were taken from a bus and not seen again. The Zetas cartel also massacred 72 Central American migrants who had been taken off buses near San Fernando, Tamaulipas in 2010.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.