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Mexico kidnapping, killing of black Americans spark anger over lackluster response

Two of four Americans kidnapped by gunmen on Friday after they drove into northeastern Mexico have been found dead, and the two survivors have returned to the United States, U.S. and Mexican officials said on Tuesday.

The survivors and the two bodies were discovered by Mexican security forces on Tuesday morning in a wood cabin southeast of the border city of Matamoros, said Americo Villarreal, governor of Tamaulipas, the state the four crossed into from Texas.

The U.S. State Department confirmed two Americans had returned to the U.S. and that the bodies would arrive later.

ABC News on Monday named the four Americans as Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown, Latavia McGee and Eric James Williams. A Tamaulipas official identified the last two as the survivors.

Williams was receiving treatment in hospital in Brownsville, Texas, across the border from Matamoros, the official said.

The kidnappings and killings sparked outrage in the US, with some members of the black community lamenting that the US government would have acted differently if the victims were white.

“If it had been white people the whole America would be ready to go to war, but since its just black people…all u hear is they shoulda known better,” said a Twitter user.

Another sad, “Americans respond differently based on the race of their citizens killed or captured in foreign countries.”

“The US said not to travel to Ukraine. 2 American soldiers went + got captured in a warzone. They were praised, but Latavia McGee should’ve known better,” said One user mentioning one of the victims.

U.S. Republicans, in particular, have been pushing for the U.S. government to take a tougher line on organized crime south of the border amid rising overdose deaths caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid trafficked by Mexican cartels.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Monday said it was time to “put Mexico on notice,” and advocated introducing legislation to classify some Mexican drug cartels as “foreign terrorist groups”, and set the stage to use military force if necessary.

“I would tell the Mexican government if you don’t clean up your act, we’re going to clean it up for you,” he told Fox News.

White House spokesman John Kirby condemned the incident in Tamaulipas, which has long been one of the most violent, gang-ridden states in Mexico. “Attacks on U.S. citizens are unacceptable, no matter where,” he told a news briefing.

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