Guatemala clash over development plans kills 8

Guatemala clash over development plans kills 8

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PAJOQUES, Guatemala (AP) — An argument among villagers over plans to build a cement factory and a highway erupted into a battle with guns and machetes, killing at least eight people and wounding dozens, authorities said Saturday.

At least six vehicles and a house were burned in Pajoques, a town about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of the capital, Guatemala City.

Officials initially reported six dead, but announced Saturday night that eight people had been killed.

The violence broke out late Friday when residents supporting the development projects argued with opponents, who say the construction would damage their lands, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla told The Associated Press.

Lopez Bonilla, who visited the town Saturday, said the dead had gunshot and machete wounds. Preliminary reports said five of the victims were members of the same family.

The interior minister said Saturday night that a contingent of police would remain in the town to provide security.

Officials said they had located some witnesses and would shelter them away from the community.

President Otto Perez Molina expressed sorrow over the incident. "I have given instructions to the interior minister to identify those responsible for these crimes and take legal action," his official Twitter account said.

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