Associated Press, Sep. 16, 2002
San Cristobal Bishop Felipe Arizmendi, whose diocese includes San Juan Chamula, condemned the attacks, reminding residents that “taking justice into one’s own hands could spark a spiral of violence that nobody can stop.”
Several other accused witches have been murdered in Chiapas over the last decade. In 1996, a mob beat and hanged a man they accused of drawing his victims’ souls into bottles and hiding them in a cave. As many as 12 other men were hacked to death with machetes in Chiapas in the 1990s, reportedly as punishment for practicing witchcraft.
While faith-healing and pre-Hispanic rituals are common in Chiapas, many of the state’s largely Indian residents also have a strong belief in, and fear of, reputed practitioners of black magic who allegedly provoke illness or death among their neighbors.
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