MEXICO CITY (AP) — Protesting Mexican farmers on Friday freed about 50 police, detectives and members of Mexico’s National Guard they held captive for three days to press their demands for land.
The Interior Secretary of the southern state of Oaxaca, Francisco García López, said earlier the farmers were holding the officers until the government agreed to return farmland they say belongs to them.
State and federal officials agreed to review the farmers' claims that they were forced off their land.
The officers do not appear to have been mistreated, and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Thursday “they are negotiating, but they have not been taken hostage.”
Residents of the village of Santiago Textitlán seized about 29 police and prosecution agents and 22 guard officers Tuesday. They say they were forced off the land last year by assailants who have not been identified.
Many farms in southern Mexico are held under common title by communities, but boundary disputes are common and can last for decades.
López Obrador has consistently ordered troops not to engage in confrontations, even when those involve drug traffickers and even when it means they are held against their will for brief periods. In 2019, the president ordered the release of a detained drug lord to avoid bloodshed.