Abuse claims

Colonel Bruce Lovell, the acting chief of staff for Guyana's military, said that the men's claims will be investigated if they are formally reported.

The claims come days after Troy Small, a gravedigger, was taken to hospital with broken feet and abrasions to his face after being held in police custody.

Heston Bostwick, an opposition activist, was taken to hospital on Saturday for treatment to stab wounds he says he sustained in a police lock-up.

Robert Corbin, an opposition leader, said that the situation in Guyana bears comparison to Liberia under former President Charles Taylor, who is now facing war crimes charges before a UN-backed court.

Kwame McKoy, a presidential spokesman, dismissed the comparison and said the allegations that police abused detainees will "be investigated in the course of time".

A report released this year by the US State Department said that while Guyana has a generally good human rights record, the alleged ill-treatment of suspects in police custody was a cause for concern.