By Andrew Russell
Violence continues to plague northern Mexico with news that 12 bodies had been found in the bottom of a well Monday, and that some of the victims belonged to a musical group “Kombo Kolombia” kidnapped last week.
The Milenio, a national Mexican newspaper, reported Tuesday relatives of the band members had already identified the bodies of their loved ones and were beginning to prepare funeral arrangements.
One of the kidnapped members of “Kombo Kolombia” managed to escape from his captors and later led police to the well where the bodies were found, the Associated Press.
A forensic official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the bodies of the recovered musicians showed signs of torture, the report said.
Mexico continues to struggle with incidents of extreme violence as cartels battle for control of the country’s lucrative drug trade.
Ioan Grillo, a British journalist who’s been based in Mexico since 2001, told Humber News that the motive as to why this group was targeted remains unclear.
“The violence in Mexico is so extensive that it can be hard to determine a motive. Some of these (bands) play at clubs frequented by cartels and mafia,” said Grillo, author of the recent book El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency.
“There are any number of reasons why a group would be targeted,” he said.
When it comes to the music scene, Grillo said that lyrics, a perceived association, or simply playing in the wrong club could be enough could to warrant a death sentence.
Musicians have been frequent victims of targeted shootings. For example, musician Valentín Elizalde, a famous singer, was gunned down in 2006.
Most musicians who have been killed in play ballads known as “narcocorridos,” songs celebrating the lives of cartel members. This recent incident could force musicians to think twice before playing at certain clubs.
“It’s a consideration for musicians in certain areas. They’ll be asking themselves ‘Who am I playing for? Do I really want to play in that club?’” said Grillo, noting that the violence in Mexico has been extremely varied, with towns bordering the U.S. seeing the highest rate of incidents.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office Dec. 1, announced he’s taking further action to curb violence in that country. According to a report from Reuters, more than 70,000 people have died in drug related violence since former president Felipe Calderón began a war against the cartels in 2006.