En mexicansk bande kidnappet en femåring, sønn av en fattig kvinne. Da moren gikk til politiet ble han drept med en injeksjon saltsyre gjennom hjeretet. Råskapen i Mexico kjenner ingen grenser. En anslår at det kidnappes 500 mennesker i måneden.

The brutal murder of Javier Morena, snatched from his family’s fruit stand in a working-class district of Mexico City, marks a horrific escalation in the terror tactics employed by kidnappers. They have increasingly switched their attention to the poor as the wealthy protect their families with squads of armed guards.

Miguel Mancera, Mexico City’s attorney-general, displayed the syringe said to have been used by five gangsters under arrest over Javier’s death. They allegedly confessed that they had wanted to be known as the «Vitriol Gang», after an alternative name for sulphuric acid, to distinguish themselves from dozens of others. The acid was siphoned off from old car batteries.

The boy vanished two weeks ago while playing at the central market in Iztapalapa, a «barrio» or slum of more than 1m people. His mother, Laura Vega, who lives in a breeze-block house with a corrugated iron roof, feared he had been kidnapped but realised she would be unable to afford a ransom.

After a frantic three-day search through the alleys and child brothels of Iztapalapa, she broke the barrio code of silence and reported Javier’s disappearance to the police.

His picture was broadcast on television, prompting a taxi driver to say he had driven the tearful boy and a teenager claiming to be his brother to a house outside the city. Police raided the building but it was too late.

In 2003, when the British director Tony Scott came to Mexico City to film Man on Fire, in which Dakota Fanning plays a kidnapped child, the abduction rate was 20 victims a month, largely children.

Police now put the rate at 65 a month. The Citizens’ Institute for Crime Studies says that this is an underestimate because few families call in the police. It puts the true figure at closer to 500 a month.

Det mexicanske samfunnet er under angrep. Hva gjør et samfunn som må forsvare seg? Moren til Javier Morena skulle ønske det var dødsstraff for slike som drepte gutten hennes. Men Mexico avskaffet dødsstraffen for fem år siden.

Mexico kidnap gang kills boy, 5, with acid