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At least nine dead in Honduras clash over land

world Updated: Aug 04, 2008 11:04 IST
clash between landowners

A clash between landowners and peasants in northern Honduras left at least nine people dead, the security ministry of the Central American country said on Sunday.

Poor farmers in the district of Colon, 130 miles (210 kms) north of the capital Tegucigalpa, demanded what they believed was their right over land currently being farmed by a group of landowners, who fired on them.

The farmers locked the landowners inside their house and set it on fire with six people inside.

"It is possible that there are more people dead since it is a two-story house," Hector Mejia, a ministry spokesman told Reuters. "There are three bodies outside the house that apparently belong to the farmers' group."

Mejia said police stayed clear of the area -- guarded by some 300 armed peasants -- "to prevent new bloodshed."

More than half of Honduras' population lives in extreme poverty, and conflicts between peasants and landowners are frequent.