Assailants attack police station in Mexico as search continues for 16 abducted police employees

Assailants tossed at least one explosive device at a police station in the southern Mexico state of Chiapas, police said Wednesday, as a massive search continued for 16 police employees abducted at gunpoint on a local highway.

The attacks highlight a new turf battle between cartels for influence over police in the state, which borders Guatemala, and control of its drug and immigrant trafficking.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed the kidnappings were part of a battle between two gangs, saying “nowadays that is the most common thing … that the groups clash.”

López Obrador said the men worked at a local prison, apparently as guards or administrative staff, though they are formally employed by the state police.

Police had originally said 14 men were abducted — and that 17 female employees were released — from a bus Tuesday. But on Wednesday police upped the number to 16.

Read more: ABC News