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Archive for Monday, July 10, 2000

Guatemalan villagers burn eight to death

July 10, 2000

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— A crowd of 200 villagers burned to death eight men they accused of running guns and drugs in western Guatemala's mostly-Indian highlands, police reported Sunday.

In what authorities described as a carefully planned attack late Saturday, roads were blocked to trap the men, and the crowd pulled them from their trucks, doused them with gasoline and set them on fire.

"This was a well-planned attack by a few people that grew into a huge crime," said De Mateo Sanchez, a spokesman for Guatemala's national police force. "The excitement attracted so many people to join.

The attack occurred in the hamlet of Xalvaquiej, near the town of Chichicastenango, 90 miles northwest of the capital, a popular tourist destination known for its Indian handicraft market.

It was the largest instance of mob vigilante justice in several years. In April, a Japanese tourist and a Guatemalan man were attacked by mobs; dozens of similar attacks occurred in 1998 and 1999.

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