LA PAZ – Bolivian authorities found the bodies of three young men who appear to have been the victims of a lynch mob in the central province of Cochabamba, police said on Thursday.
The bodies were floating in the Mariposas River and the state of decomposition indicates that the victims died a week ago, provincial police commander Alberto Suarez told reporters.
Suarez said that the young men, ages 16, 19 and 24, were possibly drowned.
The preliminary report says that the young men allegedly entered a nearby community as transport workers and that when they left, residents said that they stole a motorcycle, a deed for which they were executed.
With these three apparent lynchings, six people have now been killed in Bolivia within a week at the hands of enraged mobs.
Three accused cattle rustlers were lynched last weekend in the central province of La Paz.
People taking the law into their own hands is fairly common in rural Bolivia, especially in remote indigenous villages.
Bolivia’s 2009 constitution explicitly recognizes “community justice,” but officials have insisted repeatedly that the charter does not legalize lynching or vigilantism.
Anywhere from 10 to 20 people are killed by lynch mobs every year, Bolivian human rights organizations say.