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3 Journalists And Family Members Abducted In Violence-Stricken Mexican Town

One journalist was abducted Sunday along with his wife and adult son, and a husband-and-wife team of journalists were kidnapped Wednesday.

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Mexico journalists and families abducted (Representational Image)
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Prosecutors said Thursday that three journalists and two of their relatives have been abducted by armed men in a violence-plagued state in Mexico, which press groups say is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, outside of war zones. 

The prosecutors office in southern Guerrero state said all five people were abducted between Sunday and Wednesday in Taxco, a colonial town frequented by tourists. One journalist was abducted Sunday along with his wife and adult son, and a husband-and-wife team of journalists were kidnapped Wednesday.

The online news site The Afternoon Chronicle in the nearby city of Chilpancingo said its reporter in Taxco, Marco Antonio Toledo, had received threats earlier this year from a drug cartel, which had ordered him not to publish a story. Toledo had also recently reported on a case of local corruption. 

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The news site called on authorities to find Toledo, and said the area “has been silenced by the drug cartels.”

“Previously, other journalists have been kidnapped by drug cartels ... and have exiled themselves to other parts of the state and other states to save themselves,” the new site reported.

The press freedom group Article 19 said Toledo, his wife and son had been pulled from their home by at least five armed individuals on Sunday. They have not been heard from since.

The group said the kidnapped journalist couple have been identified as Silvia Nayssa Arce and Alberto Sánchez. They worked for another online news site, RedSiete. That outlet has not yet reported on the abductions.

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Taxco has long been known for its silver artisanry, colonial architecture and colorful Easter week celebrations. But in recent years, the city has become a battle ground between drug gangs fighting over the lucrative trade in extorting protection money from local businesses.

The violent La Familia Michoacana cartel and the Tlacos gang are reportedly active in turf battles in Taxco, about 110 miles (180 kilometers) south of Mexico City.

It marked one of the largest mass attacks on reporters in one place in Mexico since one day in early 2012, when the bodies of three news photographers were found dumped in plastic bags in a canal in the Gulf coast city of Veracruz. Earlier, in one week in June 2011, three journalists were killed or disappeared in the same city. The killings were blamed on the once-powerful Zetas drug cartel.

Last week, a photographer for a newspaper in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez was found shot to death in his car. His death was the fifth instance of a journalist being killed in Mexico so far in 2023. 

In the past five years alone, the Committee to Protect Journalists documented the killings of at least 54 journalists in Mexico. 

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