Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico missing band: Bodies found in Nuevo Leon well

A car belonging to the forensic medical services heads towards a well where bodies were found on Monday
Image caption Forensic experts were sent to the well to help identify the bodies

Officials in Mexico say they have found four more bodies in a well in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, bringing the total to 12.

Of those, four have so far been identified as members of the band Kombo Kolombia, which was reported missing after playing a gig last week.

Twenty members of Kombo Kolombia were feared kidnapped when they disappeared after playing a gig on Thursday night.

Police said one of the band members managed to escape from the kidnappers.

He led officers to the well, where they found the bodies. Some of them were wearing the band's distinctive T-shirts.

Forensic experts said there might be more bodies in the well than the twelve they had recovered so far.

Relatives had reported the band's 12 musicians and eight crew missing on Friday because the men were not answering their mobile phones.

When the relatives travelled to the concert venue, they found it abandoned and the band's cars empty.

As drug violence is rife in the area, police worked on the assumption that the band had been kidnapped.

Risky business

Special operations officers began searching for them, but it was not until Sunday that information provided by the band member who escaped led them to the well, about 30km (19 miles) away.

Image caption The musicians had been booked to play a gig at a remote bar

Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said the surviving band member had been beaten but was in a stable condition.

It is not yet clear how he managed to get away or if he was the only one to escape.

Drug gangs have killed a number of Mexican musicians in recent years.

In 2007, Sergio Gomez, the singer of band K-Paz de la Sierra was kidnapped after a concert in the western state of Michoacan.

He was found strangled days later.

Sergio Vega, known as El Shaka, was shot dead in 2010 in Sinaloa state, in western Mexico, just hours after he had denied reports of his own murder.

However, most of those killed played "narcocorridos", songs celebrating the lives of drug barons.

Kombo Kolombia specialise in Colombian popular music, not normally linked to Mexican drug gangs.

However, local media reported that the band had played in bars which had in the past been targeted by drug cartels.

More than 70,000 people are estimated to have died in drug-related violence in Mexico over the past six years.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office on 1 December 2012, has announced the creation of a new national police force to tackle organised crime and violence.

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