May 8th, 2005

Puddle Graphic

Mexican mob beats 6 people accused of practising witchcraft

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico (AP) - A mob beat six people accused of practising witchcraft in a mountainous corner of Mexico's southernmost state but police intervened before anyone was killed, authorities said Friday.

More than 100 inhabitants of the isolated and largely native town Pantlho in Chiapas state gathered at midday Thursday, cornering six locals who were accused of meeting in a home to practise witchcraft, said Armando Juarez, the community's mayor.

Responding to emergency calls, soldiers and police attempted to negotiate their way into the town as the mob beat its victims and made plans to hang them at a soccer stadium, Juarez said.

Authorities were able to disperse much of the crowd around 11 p.m. local time and had rescued the victims by the early hours of Friday morning. They were taken to medical centres in neighbouring towns.

Residents demanded the victims be ordered to pay a fine because of local ordinances banning witchcraft.
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