Photo: La Bestia train
At least 100 migrants were robbed by armed men aboard “La Bestia,” or “The Beast,” the freight train Central American migrants headed for the United States often ride on their journey across Mexico, human rights activists said.
The incident occurred around 2:00 a.m. Monday in Chahuite, a town in Oaxaca state near the border with Chiapas state.
The train stopped because logs had been placed on the tracks and 10 assailants began banging on the doors of the cars, victims said.
The armed men climbed into the cars carrying lanterns and forced the migrants to get off the train, victims said.
The assailants beat the migrants with the flat sides of machetes and forced the men to strip to their underwear.
Some of the migrants were forced to lie face down on the ground while the assailants demanded that they hand over all their belongings.
Activists are aware of the situation and two migrants have confirmed the mass robbery, Fatima Mazu, coordinator of the Hermanos en el Camino shelter in Ciudad Ixtepec, Oaxaca, said.
“The migrants, when they reach the shelter, we always ask them if they experienced any attacks. These two, who got away and took a bus, arrived and told us about the attack on La Bestia,” Mazu told Efe by telephone.
The shelter took statements from the migrants and notified the Oaxaca special prosecutor’s office for migrant affairs so investigators can obtain statements, Mazu said.
About 10 migrants gave statements on Monday and Tuesday, the shelter official said.
The train was carrying more than 400 people, but the assailants only attacked the cars in the middle, Mazu said, adding that about 100 migrants were robbed.