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Guatemala bar shooting leaves many dead

At least 11 killed and 15 others injured in series of attacks on bars near Guatemala's capital city.

Last Modified: 09 Sep 2013 02:55
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An investigation is under way to determine the cause of, and who was behind, the attack [Reuters]

Gunmen have shot dead at least 11 people and injured 15 others in a series of attacks on bars in a village near Guatemala's capital city, the Interior Ministry has said.

The suspects opened fire in three bars owned by the same person in San Jose Nacahuil, about 23km north of the Guatemala City, police said on Sunday.

The Interior Minister, Mauricio Lopez Bonilla, blamed the attacks on gunmen linked to local street gangs.

There was an increased police presence in the town as the bodies of those killed were removed from the street and taken to the morgue.

Rescue workers found victims dead in "hiding places," in the store's bathrooms, and in surrounding streets, Sergio Vasquez, spokesman for the volunteer firefighters told local media.

Local resident Marina Ascuc lost her husband in the shooting spree. She said her husband and his friend were not among those drinking at the time of the attack.

"They were travelling in a car and they (the suspects) took it from them and killed them (my husband and his friend)," she said.

Police believe the bar owner, who was killed, was the target of the attacks. He has not been named. The attackers fled in a stolen car and have not been found.

Guatemala has seen a wave of violence that has left more than 6,000 people dead a year - one of the highest murder rates in Latin America.

Officials estimate as many as half the violent deaths are associated with drug trafficking and the battle between gangs.

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