Japanese Tourist Killed by Mob in Guatemala Market
(Reuters) - A Japanese tourist and a Guatemalan
bus driver were killed in a rural Indian market after being attacked by a
mob of about 500 angry villagers who thought they were there to steal
children, police said on Sunday.
40, was killed when he and 22 other Japanese tourists
were attacked with stones and sticks by a mob while visiting a Mayan
market on Saturday in the highland village of Todos Santos Cuchumatan,
police spokesman Faustino Sanchez said.
a Guatemalan tour bus driver, was also killed in the
attack in the town some 90 miles northwest of the capital. His body was
doused in gasoline and partially burned.
were taking pictures of women and children in the market
when someone started to scream that they were stealing children and a
crowd of 500 villagers quickly closed in around them,'' Sanchez said.
women, Ueda Kumiko, 37, and Esaskika Takashi, 67, were
injured but did not require hospitalization, Sanchez said. It was not
immediately known where the tourists were from in Japan.
officials in Guatemala City could not be reached for
rushed to the market and began to fire tear gas to disperse the
crowd. Two police officers were injured.
myth in some Mayan communities is that foreigners come to
steal children to sell them or their body parts abroad, although no cases
have been documented.
In 1994, U.S.
journalist June Weinstock was attacked and beaten almost to
death by hundreds of angry peasants in the remote village of San Cristobal
Verapaz who thought she was trying to steal a baby.
In 1997, a Guatemalan
woman suspected of trying to snatch a baby died
after a crowd of villagers dragged her and another women from jail and
beat them savagely.
Every year, the
market at Todos Santos Cuchumatan draws thousands of
foreign tourists, who come to see the brightly colored Mayan textiles. The
market is listed in international tourist guides as a good place to visit.
is not uncommon in impoverished and crime-ridden
Guatemala. Experts say a legacy of violence remains in the country, which
in 1996 emerged from a 36-year civil war that killed 200,000 people, mostly
At least 71 people,
mostly suspected criminals, were killed by mobs in
peasant villages in 1999.