Four Americans who were kidnapped shortly after crossing into Mexico were in the country for medical reasons and may have been the victims of mistaken identity.
The U.S. citizens were crossing from Texas into Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, in an attempt to buy medicine when they began taking fire and were eventually dragged out of their minivan and kidnapped by armed assailants, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday, according to the Associated Press.
“There was a confrontation between groups, and they were kidnapped,” López Obrador said.
Video of the incident circulating on social media Monday appeared to show the group being confronted by multiple armed men wearing bulletproof vests, with one female being forced into the bed of a white pickup truck and other victims being dragged across the parking lot and loaded into the same truck. Fox News has yet to independently verify the authenticity of the video.
A U.S. official said the Americans were attacked by mistake and were not the intended targets of the assault, according to a New York Post report Monday.
Ken Salazar, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, said Monday that an innocent Mexican bystander was killed in the attack and that the U.S. and Mexican governments are cooperating in an attempt to obtain the release of the four Americans.
“We have no higher priority than the safety of our citizens,” Salazar said. “Officials from various U.S. law enforcement agencies are working with Mexican authorities at all levels of government to achieve the safe return of our compatriots.”
During a news conference Monday, López Obrador said that he had been in contact with the governor of Matamoros and expressed optimism that the four Americans would be returned safely.
“I think it will get resolved,” López Obrador said. “That’s what I hope.”
The Americans were driving a white minivan with North Carolina plates when they crossed into Matamoros, which sits across the border from Brownsville, Texas. Tamaulipas is one of six Mexican states that the U.S. State Department warns against travel due to an increased risk of “crime and kidnapping.”
The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward from the public for information leading to the return of the abducted Americans. Anyone with information regarding the investigation is encouraged to call FBI San Antonio Division at 210-225-6741.