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Mexican state blames railways in migrant crimes

April 1, 2014

VERACRUZ, Mexico (AP) — Prosecutors in southern Mexico have filed a criminal complaint alleging railway companies or their employees have been complicit in crimes committed against migrants who ride their trains.

Luis Angel Bravo, the attorney general of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, said he filed a complaint with federal prosecutors against Ferrosur, a Mexican rail line, and a subsidiary of the U.S. railway Kansas City Southern.

Migrants from Central America hop aboard trains in the southern states of Oaxaca and Veracruz to reach the U.S. border, but they are frequently beaten, robbed or kidnapped by criminal gangs once aboard.

Bravo said Monday that he filed the complaint after migrants claimed the trains make unscheduled stops that allow criminals to climb aboard.

“The operating personnel of the railway companies aid, abet and help in the commission of various crimes, like robbery, injury, human trafficking and extortion,” Bravo’s office said in a statement.

Spokesmen for the rail companies were not immediately available to respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

An activist with the MesoAmerican Migrants Movement, Martha Sanchez Soler, said the complaint probably wouldn’t help migrants, especially if it means keeping them off the trains.

“They are going to get them off the trains and they’re going to be walking in the road,” Sanchez Soler said. “The responsibility of the Veracruz government is to provide public safety in their own state.”

In the latest incident, authorities in Veracruz reported that two Central American migrants died Wednesday when they were thrown from a moving train.

Veracruz state prosecutors said the two Honduran died in the Veracruz village of Higueras.

Officials said in a statement Thursday that the men were killed after “an incident among people from Central America who were on their way to the northern border on the train.”

Update hourly