Guatemala vigilantes kill 5th suspect in 3 days

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2009 10:31 PM

A mob beat a suspected criminal to death Sunday and threatened to burn three women who were with the victim, authorities said Sunday. It was Guatemala's fifth vigilante killing in three days.

Hours later, police rescued three men being threatened by an angry crowd in another part of this poor Central American country, where people frequently take justice into their own hands in remote areas.

The National Civil Police said the latest deadly attack occurred in Panahachel, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) east of the capital, where a mob fatally beat a man thought to be a criminal.

The crowd also doused gasoline on three women accompanying the victim and threatened to set them on fire, but the women were rescued by police officers, officials said. Officers had to fend the crowd off for an hour as it tried to get the women back and burned four patrol cars.

Sunday night, some 800 people tried to kill three men suspected of being criminals in San Antonio Suchitepequez, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of the capital, but police were able to rescue the men.

It was the third straight day of mob violence.

On Friday, a crow in northwestern Huehuetenango burned three men alive because they were suspected of kidnapping and killing a young woman, authorities said.

On Saturday, villagers in the eastern indigenous community of Las Pozas also burned a man alive after accusing him of robbing and killing an elderly man.