At least 11 people have been killed and three others injured when a group of gunmen opened fire on them in a rural area of Guyana, the police have said.
The incident occurred on Saturday in Lusignan village, some 16 kms from Georgetown, in which the gunmen attacked five houses, opening the doors and shooting people indiscriminately, said Leroy Brummel, chief of the Guyana police, EFE news agency reported on Sunday.
The victims included four men, two women, three little boys and two girls.
A resident of the village who was unharmed said that the gunmen shot at one of the houses from outside and that the bullets penetrated the wooden walls and killed three family members.
In that shootout one soldier died and another was gravely wounded.
The police chief avoided linking the armed assault in Lusignan with threats received over the phone recently from the country's most wanted man, Rondell Rawlins, who heads a criminal gang operating in the same rural region.
Rawlins threatened a massacre unless his pregnant wife turned up. She disappeared mysteriously a week ago.
The head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Gary Best, acknowledged this past week that the army has been unable to control gang violence because the criminals are heavily armed and they infiltrate and blend in with the civil population.