Guyana shooting is country's worst in 30 years

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Map of Guyana. The shooting occurred 16 km east of Georgetown, the nation's capital.

Gunmen have killed 11 people in the village of Lusignan on the coast of Guyana, in what is said to be the country's worst mass shooting in 30 years.

The unidentified gunmen reportedly kicked down the doors of five houses and fired shots inside. The dead include five children, four men, and two women. Three people were wounded by the gunshots and taken to a hospital for treatment.

Following the shooting were angry demonstrations in the nearby town of Monrepos. Around 300 people in the village blocked two major highways and burned tires, oil drums, and refrigerators in their display of outrage.

"Government can't protect us!" they shouted. "We want more police!"

President Bharrat Jagdeo denounced the attacks, saying, "[This] could not have been done by human beings but rather by animals."

Police suspect that a criminal gang led by Rondell Rawlins may have been behind the attacks. He accused the government of kidnapping his pregnant 18-year-old girlfriend and has threatened to carry out attacks until she is recovered.

Rawlins, a former soldier, is blamed for the 2006 murder of Agriculture Minister Satyadeow Sawh.

Hours earlier, armed men attacked Guyana's police headquarters, injuring two policemen.