GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- Villagers in western Guatemala beat five
suspected highway bandits to death with sticks, burned and buried their
bodies, a state governor said Wednesday.
Accompanied by a small detachment of armed police and soldiers, Quiche
province Gov. Claudio Quinonez tried to stop the Tuesday lynching, but
angry villagers blocked roads leading into the town and refused to hand over
In a telephone interview, Quinonez said the detachment turned back
Tuesday because they feared for their lives.
The five men, who local residents accused of armed robbery of trucks on
roads in the area, were lynched in the hamlet of Chutzave, in a heavily Indian
area about 55 miles (90 kms) northeast of Guatemala City.
The hamlet does not have a police station or any permanent police presence.
Sixteen people have been lynched, usually by beating, hanging or stoning,
Guatemala so far in 1999.
About 50 people were lynched in Guatemala in 1998.
In a January report, the U.N. Verification Mission in Guatemala said the
mob justice threatens the rule of law in Guatemala, sometimes targets people
known to be innocent of the alleged crimes and are often tolerated by local
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.