Mexican military rescues 20 hostages

MONTERREY, Mexico, July 10, 2011 (AFP) - The Mexican military rescued 20 kidnapped men from a house in the northern city of Monterrey, a military spokesman said Sunday.

"The release of these twenty people was the work of intelligence services from the Secretary of Defense and a response to the high rate of kidnappings that exists in the city of Monterrey," the military spokesman, Antonio Vargas, told AFP.

The rescue came after the military raided the house where the hostages were being held early Sunday morning.

The victims were in a 9-square meter (yard) area and their hands and feet were bound. They said they were recently kidnapped in different parts of Monterrey, the third largest city in Mexico.

The kidnappers demanded a ransom for each hostage between 20,000 and 50,000 pesos (between $1,789 and $4,300).

Kidnapping in the industrial-hub city has become "an illicit organized crime that gangs commit in order to cover their expenses, and we are fighting it head-on," said Vargas.

The operation involved house-to-house checks carried out by military in the area.

According to the government, the states of Nuevo Leon, whose capital is Monterrey, and Tamaulipas, are the scenes of a deadly war between the Gulf Cartel and its former allies the Los Zetas, who control the drug trafficking routes into the United States and criminal activities in local markets.

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