At least six people have been killed and four injured in armed clashes between suspected gang members at an indoor soccer match in Guatemala, police said on Sunday, while another died after fighting during of a match in Colombia.
In the latest mass violence at Latin American sporting events, five people died at the scene and a sixth in hospital after violence erupted during a game in the Guatemalan town of Villa Canales.
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Witnesses said that at least four armed assailants arrived at the covered stadium by car.
Investigators believed the armed attack could have been the result of gang rivalry, a police report said, pointing to Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha groups which have a strong presence in Guatemala and other countries. Central America, Mexico and the United States.
Violence in Guatemala kills some 3,500 people every year – one of the highest rates in Latin America – mainly due to drug trafficking and gang activity, authorities say.
Also on Saturday, one person died from injuries sustained in a fight at a Colombian soccer stadium that forced the suspension of a club game.
Police said fighting broke out between supporters of Barranquilla’s Union Magdalena and Junior teams in the 73rd minute of a clash on the pitch at the Sierra Nevada stadium in Santa Marta.
Video on social media showed supporters bombarding other objects as an announcer urged people not to rip stadium chairs from their frames.
Two people were injured in the violence, one of whom later died, Santa Marta police chief Jesus de los Reyes said, and an investigation is underway to find those responsible.
Fernando Jaramillo, president of the Dimayor club league which hosts Saturday’s game, said there would be “strong” penalties.
Violence has erupted several times this year at soccer venues across Latin America.
On March 5, there were wild clashes between fans outside a stadium in Colombia.
The same night, a mass brawl at a match in Mexico left 26 seriously injured, while the next day a man was shot dead during a clash between soccer fans in Brazil.