After three days of captivity, 16 police employees kidnapped in southern Mexico were released Friday.

Rutilio Escandón, governor of Chiapas state, confirmed their return on Twitter.

“I want to inform the people of Chiapas and Mexico that the 16 kidnapped colleagues have been released this afternoon,” he wrote in the post.

No details were given on the circumstances of their release. The kidnappers had demanded the dismissal of three local police officials in Chiapas and the release of local singer Neyeli Cinco, who was abducted last week by another gang.

The police workers were captured Tuesday by gunmen in several vans that intercepted a police transport truck on the Ocozocoautla-Tuxtla Gutiérrez highway. The gunmen took all the male employees but left 17 women.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the group worked at a local prison, apparently as guards or administrative staff, though they are formally employed by the state police.

After the kidnapping, authorities deployed more than 1,000 officers to search for the abductees.

However, the kidnapped men returned on their own aboard a pickup trip, arriving at the state police headquarters in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, an official in the state prosecutor’s office said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Relatives who had set up camp outside the agency ran to wrap their loved ones in an embrace when they saw them get out of the vehicle.

Southern Mexico has seen an escalation of violence in recent months, with narco-blockades of key highways, confrontations, executions, disappearances and other crimes. Officials have blamed a territorial dispute between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.


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