Two out of four Americans who went missing after being violently kidnapped in the Mexican northern border state of Tamaulipas have been found dead.

The other two US citizens are alive, the state’s governor said on Tuesday, and later were confirmed to be back on US soil where they were taken to hospital for treatment.

The FBI said on Sunday it was searching with Mexican authorities for the missing Americans, who were abducted on Friday.

They had travelled as a group from South Carolina so one of them could get a tummy tuck from a Matamoros doctor, a relative said on Monday.

Shortly after reaching Mexico, they were caught in the crossfire between two groups of rival drug cartels.

A video showed the group being loaded into the back of a pickup truck by gunmen.

Officials said a Mexican woman was killed in the crossfire.

Matamoros is located just south of Brownsville, Texas.

The kidnapping illustrates the ongoing terror in the city, which is dominated by factions of the powerful Gulf drug cartel, who often fight among themselves.

Thousands of Mexicans have gone missing in Tamaulipas state alone amid the violence.

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On Monday, Mexico’s president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters: “These are people from the United States, and the information we have is that they crossed the border to buy medicine in Mexico and there was a confrontation between groups and they were detained.

“It’s already being taken care of. I believe it is going to be resolved. I expect so, I hope so,” he went on.

The White House said US President Joe Biden was aware of the “unacceptable” kidnappings, adding it was “ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance, and US law enforcement is in touch with Mexican law enforcement”.