Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico hunts Acapulco Spanish tourist rape gang

Troops at a checkpoint near the Acapulco house where the Spanish women were raped
Image caption Troops are helping police hunt for the attackers

Mexican authorities say they are determined to capture those responsible for the rape of six Spanish women near the holiday resort of Acapulco.

Masked gunmen burst into a rented beach house on Monday, tied up and held at gunpoint six Spanish men as they attacked the women for several hours.

A seventh woman escaped after telling the attackers she was a Mexican.

Acapulco is one of Mexico's most famous beach resorts, but it has recently suffered from drug-related violence.

"The attack will not go unpunished, as we are committed to catching those responsible," said a statement from the government of Guerrero state which includes Acapulco.

"The government is in constant communication with the victims and the Spanish consular authorities to offer help," the statement added.

'Strong evidence'

Most of the Spanish women are reported to be residents of Mexico who had travelled to Acapulco - on the Pacific coast - for a weekend break.

No-one has been arrested in connection with the attack on Playa Bonfil, but officials said they had leads to pursue.

"Fortunately we have strong evidence that will lead us to those responsible for this reprehensible act," Guerrero state Attorney-General Marta Garzon told Mexican radio.

Acapulco Mayor Luis Walton has apologised for causing offence after he said the attack could have happened "anywhere in the world".

The rapes are being seen as a blow to Mexico's attempts to boost its reputation as a tourist destination.

In recent years Guerrero state has been the scene of a bloody feud between rival drug trafficking gangs, but BBC Mexico correspondent Will Grant says Acapulco and its beaches have been considered relatively safe.

In the 1950s and 1960s Acapulco was a world-famous resort that attracted celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and US President John F Kennedy, who spent his honeymoon there.

These days it mainly attracts Mexican holiday makers

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