Mexican politician lynched after WhatsApp rumours

A Mexican political advisor has been killed by a lynch mob after child kidnapping accusations were spread on messaging groups, authorities said.

Daniel Picazo, 31, was attacked and beaten by a crowd of around 200 people in the central state of Puebla.

He had been visiting the town of Papatlazolco when he was cornered by the mob, before being dragged into a local field and set on fire.

Local officials called the attack an act of “barbarism”.

Mr Picazo was visiting his grandfather’s house in the town when rumours began to spread on local WhatsApp group chats that he had been involved in the kidnapping of a child.

According to local media, the mob then cornered and attacked Mr Picazo and his two companions, before dragging him to a local field.

Police attempted to intervene and placed him in a patrol car, but were quickly overwhelmed by villagers who doused Mr Picazo in petrol before setting him alight.

His body was later recovered by authorities.

In a statement, the city council said it “strongly disapproves this act and reiterates that criminal behaviour must be judged under the procedures of our rule of law”.

“The competent authorities are already investigating what happened to determine responsibility,” officials added.

Authorities have yet to arrest anyone in connection with the attack, local media reported.

Mr Picazo served as an advisor in Mexico’s legislative body, the Chamber of Deputies, until March 2022.

Congresswoman, Johanna Torress, said Mr Picazo had been “a talented, dedicated young man, committed to his country and with big dreams in life”.

“I pray to God for his rest and for the good of his family,” she added.

The National Action Party, one of the largest parties in the assembly, said it demanded “justice in the face of this unfortunate event”.

Mob justice was not uncommon in parts of Mexico, particularly in more remote areas where police were slow to arrive, and Mr Picazo was the second person lynched in the state of Puebla this year.

In 2019, seven men were beaten and burnt alive by a mob in the state.

A 32-year-old Indian software engineer has become the latest victim in a spate of mob lynching, allegedly spurred by child abduction rumours spreading over WhatsApp. BBC Telugu’s Deepthi Bathini reported on how the attack unfolded. -BBC

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