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2 Killed, 9 Wounded in Attacks on Guatemala Police


Police carry tools, including axes and a large plier, to use in an operation that aims to rescue four jail guards who were taken in the midst of a prison riot at the Centro Correccional Etapa II reformatory in San Jose Pinula, Guatemala, March 20, 2017.

Two policemen were killed and eight wounded in attacks on police across Guatemala on Monday night, authorities said, hours after a bloody riot in a juvenile detention center was put down in the Central American nation.

A civilian was also injured in the attacks, according to authorities.

Eight attacks were carried out against police stations and patrol cars in the capital, Guatemala City, while another assault occurred in western Quetzaltenango department, authorities said.

The assaults in Guatemala City appeared to have been carried out by the Barrio 18 gang, one of two powerful rival gangs, a police spokesman in the capital said. Seven gang members were detained, the spokesman said.

Jailed Barrio 18 gang members rioted and took several guards hostage on Sunday to demand the return of 250 of the gang's members who had recently been transferred to another juvenile detention center. Authorities freed the guards on Monday and around 45 of those involved in the riots were awaiting charges.

Barrio 18 and its rival Mara Salvatrucha control entire city neighborhoods in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Rising gang violence has made the three countries among the world's deadliest nations outside a war zone in terms of murder rates, U.N. refugee agency the UNHCR says, driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes every year.

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