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Armed assailants rape 7 girls in Mexican prayer retreat

MEXICO CITY: A group of gunmen has attacked a juvenile religious retreat outside of the Mexican capital, raping seven underage girls and beating and robbing other residents, Mexican officials said Saturday.

A statement by the prosecutor's office said the attack, which occurred last Thursday night, targeted a juvenile prayer camp located at Colibri Park outside of Mexico City.

About 90 young boys and girls were camping at the retreat, dedicating their time to prayer and religious studies, the officials said.

The attackers, which included about a dozen armed individuals, "sexually assaulted seven underage girls and beat several other people," said the statement.

They also took away their valuables, including watches, jewelry and cellular phones.

Most of the victims had been staying and praying at the camp since Monday.

Mexico is in the throes of a violent crime wave spawned by a drug war that has been continuing for over six years.

More than 50,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon deployed the army and federal police to crack down on the country's powerful drug gangs in December 2006.

 

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