Two gunmen robbed 70 missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Friday, kicking or hitting some of them, and assaulting the mission president and his wife, a church spokesman said.
The incident happened during a zone conference of the Mexico Torreón Mission in Torreón. The robbers entered a church meetinghouse with guns and a knife and demanded cell phones, tablets and wallets from 13 sisters and 57 elders.
“Local police were immediately called after the men fled the scene and no one needed additional medical care,” church spokesman Sam Penrod said in a news release. “A church counselor is traveling from Mexico City to assist with emotional needs and other counseling options are also being made available. Parents are being contacted by the church and missionaries are being encouraged to contact their families.”
The church is taking precautions to protect the missionaries, Penrod said.
“Missionaries have been removed from the area where the incident occurred and instructed to be extra cautious,” he said. “A church security officer is in Torreón to evaluate the situation. Our prayers are with these missionaries and their families as they recover from this frightening and traumatic experience.”
The mission president is President Alfredo Zanudo. His wife is Sister Guadalupe Zanudo. They were threatened at knifepoint.
“We know that this has been a very scary and emotional time for your missionary and is alarming to you,” President Zanudo wrote in a message to parents that was posted on Facebook. “Many of the missionaries lost their electronic devices and may not be able to respond immediately to your messages, however, we are asking them to communicate with you so that you can know how they are doing. ... We hope that you can offer them reassurance and listen to their concerns.
“We are grateful that our Heavenly Father was watching over us today and ask that the Spirit will help to comfort all of us as we recover from this upsetting incident. We love your faithful sons and daughters who are serving their Lord with all of their heart, might, mind and strength and our prayers are always with them.”