File picture: Pixabay

Mexico City - Security has been stepped up in the Mexican town of Cohuecan after hundreds of local people lynched seven suspected criminals there, authorities of the south-eastern state of Puebla said on Thursday.

The victims were suspected of kidnapping a farmer, for a motive that was not clear, on Wednesday.

Police pursued the abductors, who abandoned their car and the farmer inside it, local media reported.

A mob got hold of two of the fleeing suspects, beat them and hung them from a tree.

Local people also forced their way into the police station, took three suspects out and lynched them as well.

Two other suspects were also killed. Some of the bodies were set on fire.

"Work is being done to contain the climate of tension ... and to re-establish order in the region," the authorities said in a statement.

Lynchings of suspected criminals have gone up in Mexico in recent years. The National Commission of Human Rights recorded 121 such killings and 440 attempted killings between 2015 and 2018.

Many Mexicans do not trust their country's police force, which is regarded as corrupt.

dpa