Five employees of Mexican newspaper freed after kidnapping

The Mexican newspaper El Siglo de Torreón announced the release of five of its employees who were kidnapped for 10 hours between the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 7, and the early morning of Friday, Feb. 8.

An armed group kidnapped one of the employees outside the newspaper's offices in the northern city of Torreón, Coahuila, another three at their homes, and the final one at a store, according to the newspaper El Informador. The kidnappers beat their four male captives and left the only woman unharmed, according to CNN México. Two of the victims worked on the newspaper's website, two in advertising and another for the billing department, reported the newspaper Reforma.

The newspaper said in a statement that the event was shocking and represented a new front in the "Media's vulnerability because the workers kidnapped did not belong to the newsroom." In the same statement, the newspaper decided to not release more details about the abduction over concerns for the workers' safety and to protect the victims.

Security forces in Coahuila are investigating the event and suspect that the abductors could have been motivated by the newspaper's coverage of an attack on Mayor Rocío Rebollo Mendoza in the city of Gómez Palacio, Durango, according to the website Sexenio.

Before, the newspaper's offices were attacked with explosives in 2011 and three were injured in a shoot out in 2009. At this writing, there have been no investigations into these attacks.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.