Latin America & Caribbean

Massacre of 11 people in Mexico linked to rapist's 'grudge'

Mass for the 11 family members killed, in Coxcatlan, Mexico Image copyright EPA
Image caption Many residents say they are too scared to return to their homes in remote villages of Puebla state

The funeral has taken place in Mexico of 11 people from the same family who were shot by masked gunmen in a remote village in the early hours of Friday.

Police in the central state of Puebla initially said that they were looking into allegations that the violence was caused by religious intolerance.

But prosecutors now say the motive was vengeance and two suspects have been identified and are being sought.

The main suspect is a man who nine years ago raped a family member.

He had threatened to go back and kill everyone in the Sanchez Hernandez family if they reported the crime.

The family ignored his warnings and took the case to the police.

The man fled but was eventually jailed and sentenced, returning now to carry out his revenge, state prosecutors said.

Only one person was spared from last week's attack: the boy who was born from the sexual attack of nine years ago. His mother was shot dead.

That led investigators to believe that the boy's father could be one of the killers.

'We are scared'

Two young girls and a woman who was eight months pregnant were among the victims. Two young girls were injured but survived the attack.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Five adult women, four men and two young girls were killed inside the house in a remote rural area

The Sanchez Hernandez family were Evangelical Christians and lived in the remote village of San Jose El Mirador, which split 15 years ago from the predominantly Roman Catholic neighbouring community of El Potrero.

But residents have told local media that the two communities respected each other.

The two villages are part of the municipality of Coxcatlan.

"We are scared that the criminals will come back and repeat the attack," a resident told El Universal newspaper.

"We don't really know who did this, where they came from, because it happened in the middle of the night and no one heard anything," a woman who lives outside El Mirador told El Milenio newspaper.

Many have refused to go back to their homes in the rural areas of Coxcatlan, said Mayor Vicente Lopez de la Vega.

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