Latin America & Caribbean

Bodies of Mexico missing youths identified

Composite picture of 10 of the missing
Image caption All of the missing are from the Tepito neighbourhood

Mexican officials say they have identified five of 13 bodies found on Thursday as those of abducted youths.

Prosecutors said the other bodies found in a mass grave in a ranch east of Mexico City would be identified soon.

Twelve young people disappeared in May after visiting a bar in the capital. Surveillance footage showed some being led to cars outside the bar.

A friend said at the time that the motive was warfare between two rival drug-dealing gangs.

Assistant Attorney General Renato Sales said the badly decomposed remains were found in a mass grave covered with cement, lime and asbestos.

The youngsters disappeared three months ago after visiting the Heaven bar in the fashionable Zona Rosa entertainment district of Mexico City.

There was no obvious sign of force on the surveillance footage. The men who took them away were not masked and did not seem to be carrying weapons.

No clear motive has ever been established for their abduction, although it has been suggested that it may have been linked to rivalry between street gangs in the rough Tepito neighbourhood of Mexico City.

All of the missing are from Tepito, with three of them related to jailed crime bosses from the area.

An estimated 70,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico over the past six years, much of it committed by powerful drug cartels.

The violence has mainly been concentrated in the northern states bordering the United States and in the west, with the capital largely spared.

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