Villagers burn Guatemalan mayor over attack on rival

Villagers in western Guatemalan town burned their mayor to death blaming him of attack on political rival

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A man cries over the coffin of mayor Bacilio Juracan who was killed by a mob on Sunday.

A mob killed a village mayor in western Guatemala in reprisal for an attack on a political rival that resulted in the death of two teenage girls, authorities said Monday.

Prosecutors' office spokeswoman Julia Barrera confirmed the death of 43-year-old Mayor Bacilio Juracan of Concepcion, a town about 110 miles (180 kilometers) west of Guatemala City and near the popular tourist destination of Lake Atitlan.

Villagers blamed Juracan for an attack Sunday on former mayoral candidate Lorenzo Sequen, who was riding in a pickup with relatives when about 10 armed and masked men opened fire. Sequen's daughter and niece, both 17, were shot dead, and at least five others, including Sequen, were wounded.

Hours later, hundreds of people surrounded city hall and a home where Juracan had sought refuge, and burned him to death.

They also torched vehicles and at least six buildings including a restaurant and an Internet cafe.

Sequen told police he had been threatened on multiple occasions by civic authorities after he called for an audit of the village government.

According to a police report, another former candidate urged neighbors to attack the mayor.

Vigilante killings are common in rural parts of Guatemala, where there's often scant police presence.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into the incidents. National Police spokesman Jorge Aguilar said 50 officers were deployed to patrol the village, where burned cars remained in the streets Monday.

Juracan was re-elected as mayor Sept. 6, and Sequen was a candidate for a rival party.