CHILPANCINGO: Mexican authorities on Tuesday secured the release of 13 security personnel who had been taken captive the previous day by protesters allegedly infiltrated by a criminal group, a senior official said.

Several thousand demonstrators had overrun the city of Chilpancingo in the southern state of Guerrero on Monday, demanding the release of two suspected members of a drug gang, according to the government.

After negotiations with the authorities, the protesters also agreed to stop blocking the highway to the nearby resort city of Acapulco, Guerrero state governor Evelyn Salgado said on Twitter.

“Without repression or confrontation, we achieved the release of 13 detained public servants, who are already being provided with medical attention to ensure their good physical condition,“ Salgado said.

The protesters also returned an armored police vehicle that they had used to smash the door to the governor's palace in Chilpancingo.

Salgado did not say if any concessions had been made to secure the release of the 13 captives, who included five members of the National Guard, five police officers and three officials, including a federal agent.

According to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the protesters had demanded the release of two members of the Los Ardillos drug trafficking group who were arrested last week.

“We won’t be hostages to anyone,“ he told reporters.

Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez said that the government had chosen the path of “dialogue” with the demonstrators.

Guerrero, one of Mexico's poorest states, has endured years of violence linked to turf wars between drug cartels.

Mexico has registered more than 350,000 murders and some 110,000 disappearances -- most attributed to criminal groups -- since the launch of a controversial military anti-drug offensive in 2006.

Last month, 16 police employees were kidnapped by gunmen in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas.

They were freed after several days of captivity. - AFP

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