Mexico arrests suspects in Mormon massacre

Mexico City (AFP) –


Mexico has arrested multiple suspects in the murder of nine Mormon women and children last week, the security minister said Monday, without giving further details.

"Suspects have been arrested, but we cannot provide any further information, because the investigation is being handled by the federal and Sonora (state) prosecutors' offices," Security Minister Alfonso Durazo told journalists.

Neither office immediately responded to AFP requests for further details.

The massacre of the three women and six children caused shock in both Mexico and the United States, where their families had dual nationality.

The victims, including twin eight-month-old babies, were killed in a hail of bullets a week ago as they drove on a remote road between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua, in northern Mexico, a lawless region disputed by warring drug cartels.

Mexican officials say a drug cartel called La Linea (The Line) may have mistaken the victims for members of a rival gang.

However, relatives maintain the families were deliberately targeted.

Eight children managed to escape, six of them wounded. One 13-year-old boy helped the younger ones hide, then walked 22 kilometers (14 miles) home to get help.

The case has again cast a spotlight on drug cartel-fueled violence in Mexico and leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's struggles to rein it in.

Durazo said 12 different teams are working on the investigation, including one from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Large groups of US Mormons emigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century, fleeing persecution for their traditions, including polygamy.

Now breakaways from the official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which banned polygamy in 1891, they have lived in Mexico for generations.