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Mexican peace activist assassinated

Man kidnapped with 2 others in connection with land dispute

A member of the Mexican peace organization, the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, was murdered Thursday, according to BBC News.

Trinidad de la Cruz Crisostomo, 72, was kidnapped Wednesday in connection with a land dispute.

He was on his way to Santa Maria de Ostula with other activists Wednesday, when they were held up by four armed men and de la Cruz became separated from the others.

Two other members of MPJD, Eva Alarcon and Marcial Bautista, still are missing.

Twenty-four hours after de la Cruz's kidnapping, his body was found near the town of Aquila in Michoacan state.

"The corpse bore signs of torture," reported In Sight Crime. "De la Cruz was found with his hands tied behind his back and at least four bullet wounds, and his left ear was almost detached."

Since 2009, the area where de la Cruz was kidnapped has seen 27 other murders and five kidnappings over the same land disagreement.

The BBC reported:

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[MPJD] was heading to a meeting with Nahua people, who have reportedly been targeted by local paramilitaries after retaking 1,300 hectares (3,200 acres) of land they say had been stolen from them by local ranchers. ... Members were going to act as observers at a meeting organized to reach a settlement between the parties.

De la Cruz's fellow activists told journalists that he had been beaten and received death threats from organized crime gangs in June. He left his home as a result, but came back in October.

He still "had not received the protection he had requested through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights," reported Fox News Latino.

MPJD was founded by Javier Sicilia, a poet whose son was killed earlier this year.

Members of the group hold vigils and marches across Mexico to draw attention to the thousands of drug-related murders in the country.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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