TOLUCA, Mexico – An armed gang of about a dozen people burst into a church youth camp-out outside Mexico City and went on an hours-long rampage of beatings, robberies and rape, authorities said Saturday.
Seven girls were raped during the Friday attack and several campers were beaten, according to the state prosecutors office in Mexico State, which surrounds the Mexican capital.
About 90 youths sponsored by a church group known as the Chains of the Holy Trinity were camping at an eco-park on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City, in a hilly area that is close to the lower flanks of the Popocatepetl volcano. Prosecutors did not say what church the group is affiliated with, but the camp-out appeared to have been a sort of spiritual retreat.
The office said that the attack lasted for hours, and that when the attackers left they stole two vehicles and other articles from the campers.
The office said investigators were pursuing two lines of inquiry, but did not reveal what they were.
Drug gangs operate on the outskirts of Mexico City, but campers and hikers have also been targeted in the past by common criminals.
The park is supposed to be patrolled by local police, but the attack occurred during the night and it was unclear whether officers were on duty at the time. Police only found out about the crimes when an adult organizer of the camp-out showed up at police offices to report the attack.
The state government said in a statement that it had witness' descriptions of the attackers and pledged to catch and punish those responsible.