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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 the Americans began taking fire and were eventually dragged out of their minivan and kidnaped 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 vest, 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.
4 AMERICANS WHO TRAVELED INTO MATAMOROS, MEXICO, MISSING IN POSSIBLE KIDNAPPING: FBI
A member of the Mexican National Guard guards the entrance to a property called “La Bartolina” in the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, Mexico. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)
A U.S. official said that the Americans were attacked by mistake and were not the intended targets of the assault, according to a Monday New York Post report.
Ken Salazar, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, said Monday that an innocent Mexican bystander was killed in the attack, while the U.S. and Mexican governments were 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.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. (AP)
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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.”
A Border Patrol agent walks between a gap along the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico in Yuma, Arizona on June 1, 2022. The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability is asking to speak to the head of that Border Patrol sector. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)
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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.
Michael Lee is a writer at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee