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22 February 2024

Baby, young girl and 7 adults shot to death in jungle


Nine people including a baby and a young girl were killed on Saturday in an attack on their home in a dense jungle region in northern Guatemala known to be a hotly contested drug trafficking territory, officials said.

An unknown number of gunmen stormed the house early on Saturday morning, shooting dead six adults, a five-year-old girl and a three-month-old baby girl in a small farming village in the department of Peten, some 230 miles (370 km) northeast of the capital city, army spokesman Ismael Cifuentes said.

Another woman who was injured in the attack later died in hospital.

"They were all shot," said Cifuentes.

Officials said they are unsure of a motive for the killings and they have not made any arrests in connection with the massacre.

Home to rich biodiversity and national treasures such as the Mayan temples of Tikal, one of the largest pre-Colombian Maya sites, Peten shares a porous border with Mexico used by powerful drug cartels looking to smuggle South America cocaine to the United States.

In May 2011 members of Mexican cartel Los Zetas beheaded 27 farm workers in Peten in a dispute with the farm's owner over trafficking routes.

Entering his third year of a four-year term, President Otto Perez has promised to crack down on organized criminals who control large swaths of land in one of the world's most murderous nations on a per capita basis.

Homicides in Guatemala rose slightly in 2013 from 2012, to 6,072, calling into question Perez's ability to fight crime in the Central American nation where half of the roughly 15 million citizens live in poverty.