Wails of grief mingled with prayers as villagers on Friday mourned 12 massacred peasants. The sole survivor, a 14-year-old boy, said three of the six gunmen were dressed like judicial policemen.
The government blamed a family feud, or perhaps drug trafficking - suggestions that the villagers vigorously rejected.
It was the second massacre in a week in the western state of Guerrero. Police last week killed 17 peasants on their way to an opposition protest. Ten state police have been arrested for those killings.
“I am so sad! How can I live without my mother?” wailed Aurelia Garcia Jimenez as she clung to the light blue casket of Escolastica Jimenez de Garcia, 40, flanked by the coffins of three other relatives.
Her mother was among 12 peasants, including two children, who were gunned down on a red dirt road Wednesday night as they returned from a fishing trip. All were related.
The sole survivor, the dead woman’s son Hilario Garcia Jimenez, said the family was attacked by six armed men who jumped from behind trees and stopped their truck as they were returning home.
Three of the men were dressed like judicial police officers, wearing dark-colored T-shirts, the boy told reporters nervously. He said the other three wore the white cotton shirts of the region’s peasants.
Despite the presence of Acapulco and other resort cities in Guerrero, it is a poor state with a tradition of drug trafficking, family and land feuds and violence.
As his sisters wept over his mother’s casket, Hilario told of how he survived the massacre that also killed two of his sisters, his brother-in-law and his 2-year-old nephew Rafaelito.
He said the gunmen recognized his brother-in-law, Rafael Salgado, as the commissioner of local communal farm lands.
After stopping the family, the men ordered Salgado, the owner of the white pickup, to drive them to San Rafael to pick up the vehicle ownership papers. Then they returned to Agua Escondida.
There, Hilario said, the gunmen ordered all 13 to lie face down in the road and shot everyone but him in the head.
“I don’t know how they missed me. I was covered with everyone else’s blood,” the boy said.