HYDERABAD, India (AP) _ A mob of nearly 200 villagers in southern India on Thursday burned to death four women and a man they accused of practicing black magic, police said.

The victims were dragged from their homes and tied to a tree in the main square in the village of Timmapur in Andhra Pradesh state, said police superintendent Vinayak Apte.

The mob then doused them with kerosene and set them on fire, Apte told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Police are investigating the deaths but no arrests have been made.

Another woman managed to escape the mob with injuries to her hands and was admitted to a hospital in the nearby city of Warangal, Apte said.

Apte said the villagers believed the victims were practicing sorcery and had caused the deaths in the area. But only two men had died in the village in recent months, Apte said. One died in the local hospital after suffering chest pains and the other drowned in a nearby canal.

The village of 1,500 was almost deserted when police arrived. Scared residents had fled, leaving behind the old and a few young women, he said.

Family members have given police names of 20 people who allegedly dragged the victims from their homes late Wednesday, Apte said.

In parts of rural India, villagers sometimes kill women they have branded as witches responsible for deaths or sickness in the area, despite the practice being illegal, police and social activists say.