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Mexican officials: 5 young men killed in Tamaulipas were executed by soldiers

Questions have swirled about the Mexican government’s response to the killing of five young men last month by members of the military. Now, human rights officials say they are investigating their deaths as executions.

Soldiers in Nuevo Laredo, Tamauplipas — across the border from Laredo, Texas —  killed five young menand seriously injured another as they were reportedly driving home from a party in late February.

Human rights undersecretary Alejandro Encinas said this week that the killings didn’t result from a confrontation between the military and the victims. Instead, he says, the unarmed men were executed in their vehicle.

Officials previously announced that four soldiers had been charged with disobeying orders in the case. But Encinas says an investigation requested by the human rights commission will also look at the chain of command that could have led to the killings.

Kendal Blust, an Arizona native, reports from KJZZ’s bureau in Hermosillo, Sonora, focusing on business and economic relationships between Arizona and northern Mexico.Prior to joining KJZZ, Kendal worked at the Nogales International, reporting on border and immigration issues, local government, education and business. While working on her master’s degree at University of Arizona School of Journalism, she did stints with the Arizona Daily Star and the Tico Times in Costa Rica, and completed a thesis project about women art activists in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.In her pre-journalist life, Kendal was a teacher, first helping Spanish high school students learn English, then heading to Tucson to teach fourth grade.When she’s not in the newsroom, Kendal enjoys getting outside for a hike or a swim, catching a good movie, hanging out with family and friends, and eating great food.