The bodies of 18 kidnapped tourists have been found in a mass grave discovered in Mexico, it has been confirmed. (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk)
The remains were identified at a morgue in the resort of Acapulco, by relatives of the Mexican holiday-makers.
The tourists disappeared on 30 September, after leaving their home town of Morelia. Witnesses last saw them looking for their hotel in Acapulco.
Although it is still unclear why, they are believed to have been kidnapped by a drugs gang, in a region that is the scene of a violent turf war between rival drug cartels.
Many of the men killed were relatives. Their families said most of them were mechanics who saved up money to take a vacation together each year.
On Wednesday, the site of the mass grave just outside of Acapulco was examined by police officers and troops, after a video featuring two men was posted on the internet detailing its whereabouts.
Both men identified themselves as repentant gang members. They are also believed to have been killed.
In the video, the men have their hands apparently tied behind their backs and say they had killed what they called the “20 michoacanos”, a reference to the tourists’ home state.
To an unseen questioner, they say they were ordered to kill the men in a revenge attack against La Familia Michoacana, a violent drug cartel active on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Beside the mass grave, the bodies of two murdered men were found, dressed in the same clothes as the men in the video. There was a message beside the bodies: “The people they killed are buried here.”
In recent months, mass killings and the discovery of mass graves have become more frequent, as well as the use of gruesome video messages.
In December 2006, president Felipe Calderon began deploying troops in order to take on the traffickers. More than 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since then.