Thursday, July 19, 2007

Guatemala: Citizens Outraged by Reports of Baby-Snatching for IA Hold 11 Policemen Hostage

The violence began the week of July 11, 2007 in the jungle town of Sayaxche when Guatemalan citizens, wielding sticks and machetes, and outraged about reports of babies being snatched to be sold for international adoption, apprehended a man and a woman rumored to be running a child trafficking ring.

The man, 45 year old Leopoldo Cahuil, was allegedly beaten to death, and the woman "detained." Roads were blocked and the mayor's house burned.

A week later on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 the citizens, still concerned about newspaper reports of Guatemalan children being snatched to be sold for international adoption again took to the streets in protest.

Eleven police officers were being held hostage by an angry mob of about 3,000 concerned Guatemalan residents.

At least 100 policemen and 125 soldiers had been dispatched in an effort to free the hostages and disperse the angry crowd.

"'Right now, the hostages, who are being held in the town square, are not hurt,' police spokesman Carlos Calju said. Officials are trying to convince the mob to release the the police officers in exchange for four men who were arrested for the alleged murder [of the suspected child trafficker].

'If not, we will take them out by force,' Calju said."

--quote from

This community is not the only one to erupt into violence at the perceived threat of child traffickers preying on the families and children in Guatemalan communities:
"Several [Guatemalan] communities have attacked suspected [child-trafficking] culprits, sometimes beating and burning them alive."

--quote from

Angry Villagers Hold 11 Police Hostage in Guatemala,, July 18,2007


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