President rescues 32 immigrants kidnapped in Mexico for extortion purposes

President rescues 32 immigrants kidnapped in Mexico for extortion purposes

Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador announced Thursday that the kidnappers of 32 rescued migrants in northern Mexico were trying to extort money from their relatives in the United States.

The migrants were kidnapped Saturday while traveling by bus through Tamaulipas state to the U.S. border. Tamaulipas' highways are considered among the most dangerous in Mexico due to threats of kidnapping and extortion.

The kidnappers released the bus driver and the Mexican passenger who reported the incident.

López Obrador told a regular morning briefing that the kidnappers had learned that authorities were on the scene as part of a search operation and “decided to release them.”

“The investigation is ongoing,” he added. “For now, let's celebrate being alive and being released.'' “Safely.''

Mexico's National Migration Institute announced late Thursday that it would issue visas to migrants on humanitarian grounds and allow them to use public services.

Tamaulipas Governor Americo Villarreal told Milenio TV that nine children, including a one-year-old, were among those abducted.

He said the majority of the rescued migrants were Venezuelan and some were Honduran.

Previously, authorities had put the number at 31.

Presidential spokesman Jesús Ramírez said the migrants were receiving medical treatment and released photos of them, including a child holding a teddy bear.

The government earlier said the bus was intercepted by five vehicles, carrying migrants from Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras, Ecuador and other countries, according to the driver.

The bus departed from the city of Monterrey in the neighboring state of Nuevo León and headed for Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas.

Abduction by criminal organizations is one of the main dangers faced by migrants crossing Mexico, along with threats such as traffic accidents and extortion by security forces.

Amid the surge in migrants, U.S. border police have reported about 10,000 migrants crossing the border each day in recent weeks.


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