Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Guatemala: gang members open fire on prison truck, killing two guards

A group of gang members opened fire on a prison truck here yesterday, killing two guards and wounding a third, a top official said.

The assailants apparently used assault weapons to kill the guards as they were leaving work at the end of their shift in the "Pavoncito" prison, 10 kilometers (six miles) southeast of the capital, Guatemala City, said Sandra Sayas, director-general of Guatemala's prison system.

One of the guards died immediately, while another died on arrival at a hospital. The third was in surgery Saturday, Sayas said. The assailants escaped.

The attack came just a day after members of the dangerous Mara Salvatrucha gang rioted at El Boqueron prison 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Guatemala City, threatening to decapitate two guards until officials ceded to their demand to allow televisions in cells, permit conjugal visits and transfer a group of prisoners who are not gang members to another facility.

It also came just a week after 19 dangerous inmates escaped from a maximum-security prison in Escuintla, in southern Guatemala.

Earlier last week, members of the Mara 18 gang opened fire on a prison truck that was transporting members of the rival Mara Salvatrucha gang. Two police officers were injured, but were expected to recover from their wounds. Several gang members were detained after the attack.

Sayas said that on Friday she also received anonymous calls that inmates would try to escape from the Cantel prison in western Guatemala, prompting officials to transfer three of the alleged attempted escapees to another facility.

Acting on a similar tip called into Sayas, the army on Saturday searched for an escape tunnel that prisoners apparently dug at the Zone 18 Detention Center in the capital, one of the country's largest detention facilities, reported AP.