Distressing video emerged on Monday showing the moment four kidnapped US citizens were forced into the back of a vehicle after being shot at in Mexico in a possible case of mistaken identity.
The US Embassy in Mexico City reported that the Americans had crossed the border from the US state of Texas into the crime-ridden city of Matamoros in a white mini-van with North Carolina licence plates on Friday, and soon after came under fire, New York Post reports.
Video that purports to document the kidnapping shows men in bulletproof vests dragging a person across the ground and roughly pushing a woman into the flat-bed of a white ute.
The suspects are then seen grabbing two men who appear to be wounded or worse, and put them into the flat-bed of the same vehicle.
It was not immediately known where the four captives were taken, or what their condition is. Their names have not been released.
A US official familiar with the incident told CNN the Americans were attacked by mistake and were not the intended targets.
It is not believed the US citizens had entered Mexico for criminal purposes, according to the source.
The FBI San Antonio Division office confirmed the kidnapping on Friday. The federal agency is offering a $US50,000 ($A74,000) reward for the return of the victims and the arrest of the gunmen.
Matamoros is home to warring factions of the Gulf drug cartel, and the Americans’ kidnapping there on Friday followed gunbattles that were so fierce, the US Consulate issued an alert about the danger.
It was not immediately clear whether the abduction shown on video was connected to the gun violence in the area which had locals sheltering in place.
Mexican police reported on Friday that an unspecified number of people had been killed and injured.
The State Department’s travel warning urges US citizens not to travel to the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. However, being a border city, Americans who live in Brownsville, Texas, and other cities in the area often drive across to visit family, attend medical appointments or go shopping.
– with Post wires
This article originally appeared on New York Post and was reproduced with permission