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Last Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007, 19:10 GMT
Deadly Guatemala jail riot ends
Four policemen killed in Guatemala jail
The four policemen had been held in the jail since Thursday
A riot in a prison in Guatemala has ended after four police officers held over the murder of three Salvadorian politicians were killed.

The policemen were shot dead inside the maximum security Boqueron prison, east of Guatemala City.

An investigation into the murder of the three Central American Parliament politicians is still under way.

Several hostages taken during the riot have been released and the authorities have recovered the officers' bodies.

Drug gang

"It is confirmed that the four bodies are them," police spokeswoman Maria Jose Fernandez said.

Photographs of their bullet-ridden bodies were distributed outside the jail.

Map of Guatemala

The circumstances of the killings are still unclear.

Most of the jail's inmates are members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang and the shootings are reported to have taken place during a riot over conditions.

But it is unclear if the riot started before or after the killings.

Some of the relatives of inmates said that guards had let in the attackers at visiting time.

Prison sources told Spanish news agency Efe that armed gunmen had threatened guards and then hunted for the policemen.

Guatemalan police said they suspected drug gangs were behind the killing of the policemen. One of the dead men was the head of an anti-organised crime squad.

The Mara Salvatrucha is heavily involved in drug trafficking.

The Guatemalan ambassador to Britain, Edmundo Urrutia, told the BBC that state institutions in his country were still very weak after decades of civil war.

Organised crime

The three politicians killed last week were members of El Salvador's governing Arena party and were deputies to the Central American Parliament.

Murdered Salvadorian lawmakers Josť Ramon Gonzalez, Eduardo D'Aubuisson, William Pichinte.
The politicians from El Salvador were killed on Monday
One was the son of Arena's late founder, Roberto D'Aubuisson, who was accused of being behind the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero in 1980.

Drug links, political motives or a case of mistaken identity have all been put forward as an explanation for the politicians' murder.

El Salvador's Attorney General Felix Garrid Safie has said the killings were almost certainly linked to organised crime.

The president of Guatemala, Oscar Berger, apologised to El Salvador and ordered an investigation into corruption in his country's police force.


SEE ALSO
Four held over Guatemala murders
22 Feb 07 |  Americas
Salvador politicians found dead
20 Feb 07 |  Americas
Country profile: Guatemala
24 Jan 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: El Salvador
09 Dec 06 |  Country profiles

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