Attacks leave four Guatemala bus workers dead

Four public transport workers were killed Tuesday in a spate of attacks by armed assailants in Guatemala, one of Latin America`s most violent countries.

Guatemala City: Four public transport workers were killed Tuesday in a spate of attacks by armed assailants in Guatemala, one of Latin America`s most violent countries.

A bus driver was killed in a neighborhood just north of Guatemala City, in an attack police said appeared to have been in reprisal for his refusal to pay protection money to local gangs.

A second fatal attack targeted a bus driver in the southern section of the city, who died of gunshot wounds, police said.

A third, in the town of Mixco on the western border of Guatemala City, left two people dead, a driver and another bus company worker.

Officials said two suspects so far have detained.

Guatemala, wracked by violence in even the best of times, is experiencing a crime wave that has seen the murder rate climb to 6,000 per year, mostly as a result of gang-related drug activity, police said. The population is 16 million.

The attacks seemed to mirror a similar recent murder spree in neighboring El Salvador.

Gangs in that violence-plagued country Central American country last month killed several bus drivers who dared to defy a bus boycott that the criminals had tried to impose.