GUATEMALA CITY – Violence continues unabated in Guatemala, where at least 23 people, including six women and a girl, died in one day this weekend, the press reported Sunday, citing police statistics.
The violence in Guatemala had been leaving an average of between 11 and 15 dead each day, but on Saturday there were several incidents, among them two armed attacks that left nearly two dozen dead across the Central American country.
An attack on a microbus caused the deaths of five women, among them two minors, as well as that of a prison guard, in a neighborhood in the northern part of the capital.
Police are not ruling out that the attack was a reaction by organized crime and youth gangs to the restrictions that currently prevail in the country’s prisons.
“They are reactions because we’re imposing discipline,” President Alvaro Colom told the press, adding that the victims were people who were visiting inmates.
In the administrative center of the eastern province of Zacapa, meanwhile, three men, among them a 32-year-old Honduran, Jose Angel Campos Perez, were murdered during an armed attack by unknown gunmen.
Another 12 people were killed in the province of Guatemala, which includes the capital, and two others died in the interior of the country, police and prosecutors said.
Among those victims were two women and the driver of a taxi, who were killed by unknown gunmen in San Julian, a neighborhood in the northern part of the city, in an attack that also resulted in two girls being injured by gunfire.
In the El Paraiso neighborhood, also in the northern section of the capital, the owners of a store were murdered by suspected gang members when they refused to pay extortion demands.
Crime is one of the most serious problems facing the government in the Central American country.
More than 5,600 murders were registered in 2009, and according to the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig, more than 98 percent of those killings went unpunished.