Armed Group Threatens Delinquents

July 8, 2005

GUATEMALA (ACAN-EFE) – Agroup of armed men with their faces coveredby ski masks held a surprise assemblySunday in an indigenous community in thewest of the country to warn the rural populationthat they plan to exterminate delinquents.After the announcement in the centralplaza of San Lucas Tolimán, 110 miles westof the capital, the group left a banner identifyingthemselves as a “social cleansinggroup,” according to the national police.Hours after the incident, two bodieswere found outside the town, suspected tobe the first victims. Officials said theywill send investigators backed by membersof the army to locate members of theillegal group.In recent months gangs of indigenousyouth who commit crimes against localpopulations have been formed.On Friday, an alleged young thief waslynched and another beaten by a crowd inan indigenous community in the northernprovince of Alta Verapaz.On May 21, an enraged mob burnedfour suspected thieves alive in a remoteIndian village in the northwestern provinceof Quiche.Between January and May 2005, 27people were lynched in Guatemala,according to the humanitarian MutualSupport Group.According to the president ofCongress’ Peace Committee, Víctor Sales,lynchings occur in Guatemala because theExecutive and Judicial Branches of governmenthave been unable to providesecurity by capturing and trying criminals.“Lack of hope leads to doing justiceby one’s own hand,” he said.

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