Ten kidnapped in Mexican state where 43 students were abducted

November 19, 2016 10:32 PM EST

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A group of armed men have kidnapped 10 people in the violent southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero, where 43 students were abducted and likely massacred two years ago, authorities said on Saturday.

Suspected members of a gang known as Los Tequileros took the 10, which included two minors, from the municipality of San Jeronimo on Thursday evening, said Roberto Alvarez, a spokesman for a government task force overseeing security in Guerrero.

Alvarez said the gang was created by former cohorts of drug cartels the Knights Templar and La Familia, and had been carrying out kidnappings in the state for ransom for several months.

Home to beach resort Acapulco, Guerrero has been mired in violence for years, and suffered more than 1,650 murders in the first nine months of this year, according to official data.

The kidnappings are the latest sign of how the government is struggling to beat violent crime in the troubled state after suffering one of its biggest crises over the abduction of the 43 trainee teachers in the city of Iguala in late September 2014.

The government said the 43 were abducted by corrupt police and handed over to another drug gang, who killed the students, believing some of them were working for a rival outfit.

However, the official account, which stated the bodies of the 43 were incinerated, ground up and tossed into a river, was sharply criticized by an independent investigation.

To date, only the remains of one of the missing youths has been definitively identified.

The disappearance of the 43 and the government's handling of the investigation sparked international condemnation of law and order in Mexico, creating a major headache for President Enrique Pena Nieto.

(Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Editing by Dave Graham and Kim Coghill)



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