GUATEMALA CITY – The mayor of the northwestern Guatemalan town of La Democracia was killed Thursday along with his two bodyguards and a bystander, authorities said.
The governor of Huehuetenango province, Rudy Cardona, and provincial police commander Rudy Fuentes told area radio stations that the attack took place near the town’s market.
Mayor Delmar Gonzalez, 56, was elected in 2008 on the ticket of the opposition Union Democratica, but recently switched to the governing center-left UNE.
Gonzalez was walking with his bodyguards when the assailants opened fire, municipal treasurer Tomas Escalante said.
Killed along with the mayor were police officers Cirilo Lopez and Marco Tulio Lopez and a street vendor identified as Pascual Perez.
Citing witness accounts, Rudy Fuentes said the attack was mounted by a least a dozen people who arrived at the scene in a vehicle, fleeing afterward on foot in the direction of the nearby Mexican border.
The shooters were armed with AK-47 assault rifles, the police commander said.
Guatemalan authorities acknowledge that Huehuetenango is frequented by drug traffickers from neighboring Mexico, notably members of “Los Zetas,” a band of army deserters now working as enforcers for the Gulf drug cartel.
“We are worried about the climate of ungovernability in Huehuetenango and we ask authorities to pay more attention to the situation,” the president of the National Association of Municipalities, Edy Cifuentes, said after Thursday’s killings. EFE