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The mayor of a Mexican village who had gone on a hunger strike to protest extortion by drug traffickers has been found tortured and murdered, an association of mayors said Friday.
Ygnacio Lopez Mendoza, the mayor of Santa Ana Maya in the state of Michoacan, was found dead Thursday in his pickup truck, which had been abandoned in a roadside ditch in a neighboring state.
Ricardo Baptista, president of the Association of Local Authorities of Mexico, told MVS Radio that Lopez was kidnapped at his home Wednesday night as he was parking his pickup truck.
Michoacan authorities initially said Lopez was killed in a traffic accident, but Baptista said prosecutors later told the mayor's family he was "tortured and assassinated."
Lopez had just returned from Mexico City where he had attended a meeting of the mayors' association, Baptist said.
Last month, the mayor staged an 18-day fast outside the Mexican Senate to demand help for his village of 13,000.
He said at the time that members of the Knights Templar drug cartel were demanding that Michoacan mayors pay them 10 percent of the state's public works budget.
Baptista said Lopez had received renewed threats from criminals demanding payments.
Michoacan has been lashed by violence linked to the Knights Templar, prompting villagers to form their own militias to protect themselves.
According to Baptista, 47 mayors have been murdered in Mexico since 2006.