17 held in Mexico church camp attack, rapes

2012-07-19 12:06
AP

AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Toluca - Police arrested 17 men on Wednesday on suspicion of attacking youths and raping five women and girls who were on a church camping trip outside Mexico City, a brutal assault that shocked much of the country.

The attorney general for the State of Mexico, Alfredo Castillo, said 11 of the gang members were identified by some of the victims. In interrogation videos played for reporters, three of the suspects confessed that they sexually abused the women and girls because fellow attackers told them to.

Two of the suspects were local police officers and another had served in the military, Castillo said, speaking two days after authorities announced the arrest of a man who was described as not directly involved in the assault on the camp-out but who allegedly provided information to the assailants.

President Felipe Calderon met with parents and lawyers of the victims on Wednesday to discuss the crime, which highlighted the increasing dangers of outdoors activities around the capital.

Sponsored by a church group known as the Chains of the Holy Trinity, 90 youths were camping on Friday at an eco-park on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City when a group of armed men stormed into the hilly area.

The attackers went on an hours-long rampage of beatings, robberies and rapes at the site close to the lower flanks of the Popocatepetl volcano.

No drug gang links

The episode and a similar mass robbery and rape attack in February at a spot nearby have reduced city residents' trust in the serenity of the wooded hills around the city and interrupted a decades-old tradition of outdoors activities in the pine and fir forests.

Prosecutors have said the latest attack was not related to organised crime or drug gangs. Common criminals, robbers and rapists have been targeting hikers and campers on the city's outskirts.

Mexico's equivalent of the Boy Scouts said on Tuesday that it is recommending scouts not go on hikes in small groups and avoid about 11 wooded areas on the outskirts of Mexico City. No scouts were involved in the attack.

The Scouts Association of Mexico said future hikes should ask for police protection if necessary. The group's statement said it co-ordinated a recent hike with local police departments.

Gerardo Catano, who leads tours and a mountain rescue group in the township of Tlamanalco on the slopes of the volcanoes that ring Mexico City, said the number of hikers and campers has fallen about 90% in the wake of the most recent attack.

Catano said he has been robbed three times while leading groups through the mountains. He said the attackers were armed with pistols and shotguns, but he agreed with prosecutors that the robbers probably don't belong to sophisticated crime gangs or drug cartels.

Victims humiliated


"The organised criminals, they go after other targets" with more money, Catano said. "They are probably people from the [mountain] communities themselves."

Organised or not, Catano said the problem has gotten worse, with bands of attackers growing bolder and picking on larger groups, calmly spending hours humiliating their victims.

He recalled that in one of the attacks in which a group he led was robbed, "they took their time to threaten us and even ate our food in front of us. They had all the time in the world to do what they wanted".

In another large-scale attack, an armed band robbed a group of about 120 hikers in February, and reportedly raped two.

"You can't go up alone anymore, and it's even more dangerous if you have a woman with you," Catano said.

He and other guides have called on local authorities to deploy horse-mounted police patrols, and suggested officials station officers at some of the better-known trailheads and forest clearings.

- AP

Read more on:    felipe calderon  |  mexico
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Only voters can say ANC has problem - Ramaphosa

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has down-played problems that have engulfed the party and says only voters can say there is a problem.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3525.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.