UK & World News

  • 23 November 2012, 13:39

Seven Gunned Down In Guatemalan Clinic 'Hit'

Gunmen dressed as policemen shot dead seven people in a medical clinic in Guatemala City in an apparent attack on an alleged drug dealer.

The hit-squad killed bodyguards and people guarding the clinic, in an upper class area of the city, but missed their intended target.

The country's interior minister, Mauriciao Lopez, said the group of men entered the clinic looking for the alleged Guatemalan drugs baron, Jairo Orellana, who was a regular client there.

When they were turned away by guards they opened fire with AK47 rifles, shooting four people on the ground floor, one on the stairs and two more on the second floor.

Six men died at the scene and a seventh, who has been named as Trinidad Mendez Chacon, an employee of a private bodyguard company, died later in hospital.

After the attack, the men fled in five vehicles.

Mr Lopez told reporters: "The attack in the capital could be the product of a power struggle between drug traffickers. It was directed at Jairo Orellana."

Officials said one of the victims was from a rural province where the government has suspended constitutional rights in an attempt to remove it from the stranglehold of Los Zetas, the Mexican drug cartel.

The Mexican cartels are reaching further into Central America in an expansion of their cocaine-smuggling empires.

In May last year, Los Zetas beheaded 27 innocent farm workers in the northern border region of Peten in a dispute with the farm's owner over drug trafficking routes.

General Otto Perez, the Guatemalan president, has vowed to crack down on violent drug gangs.

Guatemala is one of the most violent countries on Earth, with 39 people out of every 100,000 murdered.

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