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Three people arrested in connection to kidnapping of teens in Zacatecas, Mexico

Six of the youngsters were found dead on Wednesday, while the sole survivor is being treated for head injuries and fractured nose bones

Familiares, amigos y vecinos de los jóvenes asesinados en Zacatecas
Relatives, friends and neighbors of the young people murdered in Zacatecas, during a demonstration, on September 26.Adolfo Vladimir (Cuartoscuro)

Three people have been arrested in connection to last Sunday’s kidnapping of seven young people in the Mexican municipality of Villanueva, south of Zacatecas, as reported Wednesday by state official Rodrigo Reyes on Radio Formula. The news comes the same day that authorities found the bodies of six of the victims. Only one of the youths survived. He was taken to State General Hospital, where he is being treated for head injuries and fractured nose bones.

Reyes said that the arrests were made on Tuesday and Wednesday. “Since yesterday [Tuesday] two people who are likely linked to this incident have been detained. Today [Wednesday], a few minutes ago, the secretary of the Ministry of Public Security informed me that another person had been arrested in La Quemada, a nearby area in the municipality of Villanueva,” said Reyes.

The seven teenagers, between 14 and 18 years of age, were kidnapped at 4 a.m. on Sunday by a group of armed men. The assailants showed up in several vehicles and burst into the ranch El Potrerito, owned by one of the victim’s parents, where the seven young men were resting. They had spent Saturday night together and were sleeping over. Three of them were first cousins, the rest were close friends because they studied together at the local high school. The commando fired in the air to frighten them and took the teenagers away, still barefoot, according to the father of one of the victims, who spoke with this newspaper on condition of anonymity.

On Monday, the authorities deployed 300 soldiers from the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), the National Guard (GN) and police officers from the different communities of Villanueva. But the efforts arrived too late, said the families of the victims.

The discovery of the bodies on Wednesday has shaken the state of Zacatecas. The bodies were discovered by a helicopter in a difficult to access area without roads. The helicopter sighted at least three bodies, and when officers reached the site, they found another three. Next to them was the sole survivor, who was immediately taken to hospital.

The case is reminiscent of the kidnapping of five other young people last August in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco. The event shocked the country because of the particular cruelty and brutality shown by the kidnappers, who released a video showing the five childhood friends being forced to torture each other.

Disappearances in Mexico now number more than 100,000, and less than 1% of crimes are solved, according to a study by the organization Impunidad Cero.

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