Brazilian mob decapitates soccer referee after he stabs player

SAO PAULO Sat Jul 6, 2013 4:44pm EDT

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - One man has been arrested in northern Brazil after a referee who fatally stabbed an amateur player over his refusal to leave the field was decapitated by a mob, police said on Saturday.

Referee Octavio da Silva, 20, stabbed player Josenir dos Santos, 30, on June 30 after dos Santos refused to heed his order to leave, police spokesman Kena Souza told Reuters.

A mob then turned on da Silva, killing him before severing his head in the remote town of Pio XII, named after a former pope. A 27-year-old man was arrested on July 2 and police in the regional headquarters of Santa Ines will continue to investigate the incident, Souza said.

Brazil has made significant strides in lowering homicide rates in recent years, as millions were lifted from poverty, but it faces mounting pressures to show it is a safe place for tourists before 12 Brazilian cities host the 2014 soccer World Cup and Rio de Janeiro the Olympic Games in 2016.

In Rio de Janeiro on the day of the brawl, Brazil's national team handily defeated Spain in the Confederations Cup, considered a test run for next year's molyuch bigger championship. The eight-team tournament was marked by an unexpected wave of demonstrations, some violent, in part to protest the $14 billion being spent on World Cup preparations amid a lack of adequate public services.

(Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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