Mexico Fears 20 Missing Musicians Have Been Kidnapped
By Tom Porter | January 28, 2013 1:52 AM EST
Police in Mexico are searching for a band of 20 musicians and roadies who went missing after a gig.
Kombo Kolombia, who are Mexicans but play Colombian-style vallenato music, last played a private gig in Hidalgo, north Mexico, but have not been seen or answered their mobile phones since.
"They were not answering their mobile phones, but we just thought it was because they were in a remote place," said family member Jose Ruiz.
"We started to look for them, and we found their cars open and empty, and neither they nor their instruments were at the farm where they were scheduled to play."
Police confirmed that the band has not been seen or heard from since Thursday.
A number of musicians have been kidnapped and murdered by drug gangs in Mexico over the last few years.
In 2007 Sergio Gomez, singer in the band K-Pax, was kidnapped and strangled to death.
Hours after denying reports of his murder, Sergio Vega, known as El Shaka, was shot dead while driving his red Cadillac.
Most of those murdered were narcocorridos, who sing songs celebrating the lives of drug barons.
Among them is Diego Rivas, who was shot dead in 2011 after composing a song in praise of Joaquin Shorty Guzman, Mexico's most wanted drug baron.
The missing band play Colombian music, not usually linked to drug gangs, but local media report that the venue of the band's last gig does have links to drug violence.
Last year conductor and pianist Rodolfo Cazares, music director of the Bremerhaven City Theatre in Germany, was kidnapped while visiting relatives in Mexico. He has not been seen since. Fears are growing that he may have been murdered by a drug gang.
Last year more than 70,000 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico, prompting President Enrique Pena Nieto, who was sworn in last December, to set-up a new national police force to tackle organised crime.
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