LA PAZ – The Bolivian Attorney General’s Office said Friday that another lynching has taken place in Uncia, the Indian community in the southwestern province of Potosi where four police officers were tortured and killed two months ago.
The body of miner Bernabe Mamani, 21, was found Thursday on the road between Uncia and Chayanta, prosecutor Henry Espindola told Radio Erbol.
He said the victim died for trying to steal a cylinder of cooking gas.
Authorities began searching for Mamani after his wife reported him missing on Monday, the prosecutor said.
“The lady had learned that her spouse was executed in Zone 11 (of Uncia). So we went to the scene, specifically to the soccer field, and there were blood marks on one of the nets as well as the grass and the samples were taken,” Espindola said.
Uncia’s police chief, Miguel Narvaez, told La Razon newspaper that Mamani “entered one of the homes and the owners surprised him, so together with neighbors they took him to the soccer field and proceeded with the lynching.”
Mamani died early Wednesday of asphyxiation, according to a preliminary forensic report.
This latest instance of vigilantism in Uncia took place in the town itself, not the rural area where the four police officers were lynched two months ago, Espindola said.
The families of the slain officers filed a criminal complaint last week against Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti and six senior police commanders for dereliction of duty and manslaughter.
Bolivia’s opposition has criticized the government of Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous president, for taking no action against the Uncia residents who killed the police.
Leaders in Uncia accused the police of abuses – including murder – and claimed that the lynching was consistent with traditional communitarian justice, which is officially recognized in the new Bolivian Constitution.
The government, however, rejects that argument, pointing to a constitutional prohibition on capital punishment. EFE