Guatemala has seen a decrease in violence on the whole but recent deadly attacks against buses have shown that gangs are still targeting public transport and with this has come an increase in extortion demands.
Last week, a bus robbery turned into a shootout in Guatemala City and that left one dead and one injured while another incident saw shots fired into a bus, causing injury to the driver and one passenger. The problem of gangs and extortion was further highlighted by the explosion of a homemade bomb where 7 people were injured. The attack, that was related to extortion payments saw the 19 year old, caused the explosion, lose both her arms.
Following the bombing, it was identified by drivers that extortion payments demanded by gangs was on the rise and has been growing in recent years. This is all down to gangs attempting to control their patches and territory. While payments were once only made to large gangs, small gangs are now getting in on the act. During the first two weeks of this year, eight people were killed on public transport as well as the driver of a motorcycle taxi who was shot and killed by his passenger.
While the attacks on public transport is not a new thing, attacks are increasing and between 2010 and 2017 around 2,000 people were killed. However, the problem is now increasing at an alarming rate and it all comes down to gangs fighting and competing for territory.