(re-ledes with comments of Mexican president)


Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Thursday that "every institutional support" will be provided to the effort to track down those responsible for the rapes of six Spanish tourists this week in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.

The crime "should concern all authorities of the three levels of government," the president said in his first public comment on the case.

Peña Nieto said that on learning of the events in Acapulco, he ordered the Government Secretariat and the federal Attorney General's Office to render "every institutional support that aids the investigations."

The Guerrero state AG's Office has jurisdiction over the crime.

Investigators have questioned eight people in connection with the rapes, Guerrero's police chief said.

The individuals are not under arrest and were brought in to give statements "simply to learn what they know about the matter," Marcos Juarez Escalera said.

Gunmen raped the six Spanish tourists around 3:00 a.m. Monday in the Playa Bonfil area of Acapulco, one of Mexico's most popular tourist destinations.

The victims and several male companions were outside their bungalow when five masked assailants armed with handguns accosted the group.

After gagging the men, the attackers forced the group inside the bungalow and assaulted the six Spanish women, though they spared a Mexican woman who was with them.

Guerrero AG Martha Elva Garzon said earlier this week that investigators had made "important advances" toward solving the case.

The victims' ordeal lasted for about three hours and the assailants took PCs, cell phones, credit cards and other valuables when they left, Garzon said. EFE