A lynch mob in Tetela del Volcán, Morelos, hanged a Colombian citizen yesterday based on rumors of his alleged involvement with a gang of extortionists.
Residents of Tlacotepec in the neighboring municipality of Zacualpan de Amilpas accused Ricardo Alonso Lozano Rivas and two companions of collecting extortion payments from local store owners.
Lozano fled town but his pursuers caught up with him in Tetela del Volcán. His companions escaped but Lozano was not so fortunate.
He was beaten and dragged to the town’s zócalo where he was tied to a flagpole and later hanged, said the state Attorney General.
Participants in the lynching prevented state police from intervening and stopped reporters from recording the incident.
The mob also burned the vehicle in which Lozano had been traveling.
Two signs were placed on Lozano’s body with a message directed at Governor Graco Ramírez.
“Graco, these are the results of your government,” and “This is what’s going to happen to all extortionists.” The message was signed by the “United peoples of Morelos.”
Four people claiming to be Lozano’s relatives attempted to retrieve the body, explaining that he was not an extortionist but a money-lender, but they were deterred from doing so by the mob.
The body was recovered later by state police.
Increased violence in the region has triggered the formation of self-defense forces in several municipalities, where residents have complained of inaction by the state.
Said one resident of Tetela and a participant in the lynching: “The government does nothing. They left us no other way out . . . . The government does not care what happens to us, as long as they are fine . . . We’re fed up,” he said between expletives.
The state Attorney General’s office condemned the lynching and said it was working on dismantling the criminal organizations.