An angry mob of hundreds dragged the mayor of an indigenous town in rural Guatemala out of his home and burned him alive after burning down at least six buildings, police say. The event occurred in the immediate aftermath of a shooting attack against an old political rival.
Bacilio Juracán Leja, who had just begun his third term as mayor of Concepción, Sololá state, stood accused by the crowd of planning an attack on Lorenzo Sequec Juracán (no relation), an opposition candidate who had lost against him. As news of the shooting, which left Sequec’s 17-year-old daughter and 16-year-old niece dead, spread around the town, a mob formed and began attacking the homes of various relatives of the mayor. The crowd reportedly burned down each home they encountered upon not finding Juracán there until reaching him personally. Upon finding him in his home, the crowd beat him and burned him alive.
By the time Guatemala’s National Civil Police arrived in the remote town, the mayor was dead.
— Prensa Libre (@prensa_libre) October 11, 2015
— Viva la Revolución (@SocialistasRev) October 13, 2015
Guatemala is among the most violent nations in the world not currently engaged in a war. Deutsche Welle reports that an estimated 15 murders occur in the nation on a daily basis, according to the Mutual Support Group, an NGO working in the region. Lynchings of public officials remain rare, however. Such events are more common, the newspaper proposes, in countries like Bolivia, where the Constitution allows for the concept of “community justice.” While the law does not allow for vigilante killings explicitly, several lynchings have occurred in Bolivia in which the perpetrators attempted to use the constitutional provision to declare their violence legal.