MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s lower house has formed a special work group to monitor the investigation into the case of six Spanish women raped earlier this month in the Pacific resort of Acapulco.
The multi-party commission of 12 lawmakers will be presided over by the heads of the Chamber of Deputies’ Human Rights and Equity and Gender committees, Miriam Cardenas and Martha Micher, respectively.
The panel is to meet on Feb. 26 with Angel Aguirre, governor of Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, and with local lawmakers to “request a broadening of the investigation.”
Gunmen raped the six Spanish tourists around 3:00 a.m. on Feb. 4 in Playa Bonfil, located in the eastern section of Acapulco, one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.
The victims and several Spanish 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.
The victims’ ordeal lasted for about three hours and the assailants took PCs, cell phones, credit cards and other valuables when they left, officials said.
Nine days later, Mexican authorities announced the arrest of six suspects and said another was being sought. According to officials, the detainees confessed to their participation in the crime.
Nevertheless, Cardenas, of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, said it is important to monitor the case to make sure investigators “determine with convincing evidence who took part in the criminal acts of Feb. 4 and punish them with the full force of the law.”
The lawmakers also will inquire during their meeting with the governor about preventative measures that have been taken in the wake of the attack to combat violent crime in the region.
Cardenas said Acapulco has the highest rate of violence of any Mexican city and urged the adoption of measures to ensure public safety.
According to official figures, 14,050 rapes and 17,459 other sexual crimes were reported in Mexico in 2012.
Human rights groups, however, say that only 15 percent of rape cases are reported because of victims’ distrust of authorities and other reasons.
Acapulco, one of Mexico’s most famous tourist destinations, has been plagued by drug-related violence in recent years.
The Guerrero state government launched a security operation in 2011 with the support of the federal government to step up security in areas frequented by foreign and domestic tourists.
“Operation Safe Guerrero” was launched on Oct. 6, 2011, in an effort to reduce the soaring crime rate in the state.