Tags: cubans | mexico | vanish

34 Cubans Held by Mexican Authorities Vanish

Thursday, 12 Jun 2008 10:38 PM

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TUXTLA GUTIERREZ -- A group of 34 Cubans held on immigration charges in Mexico vanished after a bus taking them to a detention center was hijacked by heavily armed assailants, officials said Thursday.

Police found the empty bus, and no sign of the Cubans or the assailants, Thursday morning in the small town of Ocosingo, police in the state of Chiapas said.

The seven immigration guards and two bus drivers were left on the highway, officials said.

The Cubans were arrested on Saturday in the resort town of Cancun on charges they entered the country illegaly.

The bus was taking the Cubans to a detention center on the border with Guatemala to begin deportation procedures, an unnamed official in the southern state of Chiapas with the Mexican Immigration Institute (INM) told AFP.

An immigration official in the state capital Tuxtla Gutierrez told AFP that a group of gunmen carrying automatic rifles stopped the bus late Wednesday.

"Several armed men wearing ski masks stopped the bus on the highway and threatened the immigration guards with automatic rifles," the source told AFP. "They took the bus along with the Cubans."

© 2008 Agence France-Presse

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