Mexico City, Feb 4 (Agencies): No less than 209 kidnapped victims were killed last year in Mexico, double the number in 2009, a coalition of civic groups said.

The Movimiento Blanco coalition said the total includes 72 Central American migrants who were kidnapped and massacred in August 2010 in northern Tamaulipas state by armed gunmen from the Los Zetas drug cartel.

But "if those murders were not considered, in any case the number of kidnap victims murdered in Mexico in 2010 would be the largest in the history of Mexico", it said.

The widespread violence in Mexico is mainly because of disputes among drug cartels, kidnapping outfits and human traffickers.

In October, the Mexican Congress approved a bill that increases the penalty for kidnappers to different jail terms ranging from 25, 45 and up to 70 years if they kill their victims.

Chihuahua State has approved a law to punish kidnappers with up to life in prison and two convicted have been given that sentence.