Armed group kidnaps 14 security ministry staff in Mexico

The group, all men who worked in administration in a police station, were snatched from a highway in Chiapas.

Map of southern state where the kidnapping took place.

Security forces in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas are searching for 14 administrative employees of the state security ministry kidnapped by members of an armed group.

The incident took place on Tuesday, about 34.4km (22 miles) west of the state capital Tuxtla Gutierrez, on the highway connecting it to the town of Ocozocoautla.

Those kidnapped were all men and worked in administration in a police station, the state security agency said in a statement.

“Nothing like this has ever happened,” a ministry spokesperson told the Reuters news agency, adding that the motive for the kidnapping was being investigated.

Both federal and state agents are involved in the search.

Some Mexican news outlets released video of the alleged kidnapping showing several vehicles stopped on the highway with their doors open and men in bulletproof vests pointing guns at the passengers in the vehicles.

The state prosecutor’s office said it was investigating the authenticity of the videos, which also showed at least three trucks blocking a highway.

The newspaper Reforma reported that the armed men took the employees’ mobile phones away and ordered them to lie on the ground. The women in the group were allowed to walk free, it added.

Tuxtla Gutierrez is located about 700km (435 miles) southwest of Mexico City.

During a tour of Chiapas last Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador minimised the violence in the area, saying that in general there was “peace, there is tranquility” in the state.

The day before the president’s visit, an official with the Attorney General’s Office was seriously injured after being shot in Tuxtla Gutiérrez in an attack that killed the person who was with her.

On June 19, a confrontation between the military and presumed members of organized crime left an element of the National Guard and a civilian dead in Ocozocoautla.

Source: News Agencies