Mexican music group kidnapped after concert

MONTERREY, Mexico (AFP) - At least 20 people from the musical group Kombo Kolombia were reported missing after a concert in north-eastern Mexico, officials and relatives said Saturday.

Relatives of the missing said the group, 12 musicians and eight crew, were scheduled to play a gig in the Potrero Chico area of the town of Hidalgo, on Thursday night.

But they said, instead, the group seems to have disappeared. "They were not answering their cell phones, but we just thought it was because they were in a remote place," a family member, Jose Ruiz, told AFP.

"We started to look for them, and we found their cars open and empty, and neither they nor their instruments were at the farm where they were scheduled to play." Nuevo Leon security spokesman Jorge Domene, also confirmed the disappearance, saying the 20 people, including musicians and their support staff, have not been heard from since Thursday.

Nuevo Leon, like many Mexican states, has suffered a growing wave of violence as criminal gangs engaged in kidnapping, extortion, drug trafficking, battle both with members of opposing cartels and with police.

According to official figures, more than 70,000 people died in Mexico from drug-related violence under former president Felipe Calderon, whose six-year term ended in 2012, after he sent soldiers in to fight the cartels.

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