Members of an armed group kidnapped 14 state security ministry employees on Tuesday, prompting a search throughout the southern state of Chiapas for the missing individuals, authorities said.
The staff was taken at gunpoint by members of an armed group as they were traveling on a highway about 22 miles (34.4 kilometers) west of Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of Chiapas, the security ministry said in a statement quoted by Reuters.
The employees, all men, were administrative employees of a police station, a ministry spokesperson said in a statement. The motive for the kidnapping is still being investigated.
“Nothing like this has ever happened,” the spokesperson said.
Federal and state security agents initiated a search throughout the state of Chiapas in an effort to find the missing men.
A video of the alleged kidnapping surfaced on social media and was restored by local news channels, showing several vehicles stopped on a highway after at least three trucks blocked the road. The video shows several men in tactical gear with guns approaching the cars and pointing their guns at passengers in the cars.
The authenticity of the video has not yet been confirmed. It is being investigated by the state prosecutor’s office.
According to the newspaper Reforma, the armed men took away the men’s cell phones and ordered them to lie on the ground before taking them away. There were also women in the group at the time of the hold-up. However, they were allowed to go free.
Violent confrontations between criminals and law enforcement agents have been increasing in recent months in Ocozocoautla, the town near where the kidnapping took place. The area is a popular transit area for drug smugglers and undocumented migrants.