U.S. diplomats told to send their children out of Monterrey
(CNN) -- The State Department told U.S. government employees in Monterrey, Mexico, on Friday to send their children elsewhere because of heightened security risks related to drug violence.
The order is the first of its kind in any Mexican city, said Brian Quigley, a spokesman for the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey, adding it reflects an increasingly violent and insecure reality. Monterrey is located in northern Mexico.
The travel warning was issued after an August 20 shooting in front of the American Foundation School in Monterrey, said the State Department. The high incidence of area kidnappings was also cited as a motive behind the move.
"U.S. government personnel from the Consulate General in Monterrey have been advised that the immediate, practical and reliable way to reduce the security risks for children of U.S. government personnel is to remove them from the city," the State Department said in a statement.
The new rule will take effect on September 10 and affect roughly 25 families, Quigley said.
In a separate message, also issued on Friday, the U.S. consulate in Monterrey said adequate safeguards simply do not exist to protect the children of U.S. employees.
"Local police and private patrols do not have the capacity to deter criminal elements from areas around the schools attended by the children of U.S. personnel assigned to the consulate," read the statement from Monterrey.
The authorized departure of family members of U.S. government personnel from consulates in the Mexican cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros remains in place, the State Department said.
The United States has a travel warning issued for Mexico because of drug-related violence, particularly in the northern border areas.
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