San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Armed motorcycle gangs have assassinated more than 1,100 victims in Guatemala since 2011

GUATEMALA CITY — At least 1,111 Guatemalans have been killed by armed motorcyclists between 2011 and the first two months of this year, according to a report by the humanitarian organization Mutual Help Group (GAM in Spanish), published on Wednesday.

The study, based on GAM’s own findings, showed an increase in these type of crimes, which authorities have attributed to sicarios, hired killers working for criminal organizations.

In 2013, the assassinations totaled 422 victims. The previous year saw 335 assassinations, and in 2011 there were 254.

In the first two months of 2014, an uptick has occurred, with 100 executions by gunmen on motorcycle, according to GAM.

The increase of these armed attacks has been sustained despite ex-president Álvaro Colom (2008-2012) passing a decree in 2009 that prohibited more than one person riding the same motorcycle.

Current President Otto Pérez Molina reformed the decree last August and restored the ability for two people to travel on the same motorcycle.

Guatemala is living in a wave of violence that leaves 17 dead every day, one of the highest rates in the world.

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