The Secretary General of the Bolivian Bishops Conference, Bishop Jesus Juarez, has denounced the killing of the Benjamin Altamirano, mayor of Ayo Ayo, located about 80 kilometers from La Paz, saying the tragedy demonstrates that “there is no respect for the law” in Bolivia.
The bishop said that “these are signs that are very worrisome and that lead to a feeling of powerlessness because there is no respect for the law and people are acting in a completely immoral and illegal fashion.”
The Association of Judges of La Paz condemned the crime and issued a statement saying, “Some time ago we requested that local judges be moved to La Paz to hear their cases in the capital because of the lack of security.”
The kidnapping and murder of the mayor—who was burned alive by his captors—took place early Tuesday morning, as an act of “community justice,” according to a note found next to the body.
However, the judges in the case warned that “community justice should not be understood as community execution and a return to the time when each person took the law into his own hands.”
The town of Ayo Ayo only has five police officers who said, along with residents of the area, that they did not “see or hear anything” when the mayor was killed.
According to police chief Jairo Sanabria, the search for the 55 year old mayor, who was accused of corruption and the mismanagement of $500,000, began immediately and that around 11:00pm there was “an unexplained complete power outage.”
The family of the mayor has called for Congress to investigate of Sanabria for “negligence.”