Two `hitgirls' arrested in Guatemala

Two "hitgirls" were arrested in Guatemala who confessed to murdering a man last week, a National Civilian Police, or PNC, spokesman said.

The unidentified girls, aged 13 and 15, were arrested Saturday in northwest Guatemala City and told investigators they murdered a 20-year-old man a day earlier.

Cesar Villanueva was killed while riding his bicycle Friday in the poor La Florida district, the police spokesman said.

The gun used to kill Villanueva, ammunition and other evidence were found by PNC detectives in the girls' bedroom, the police spokesman said.

"The girls confessed that they committed the murder, but they did not say where they got the weapon or who ordered them to kill this person," the PNC spokesman said.

The teenagers were taken to a youth correctional institution, where they will remain until a court hears the case.

Criminal organizations are hiring and training minors as contract killers to exploit provisions in Guatemalan law that exempt minors from prosecution for such crimes, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez said.

A 14-year-old boy armed with an UZI submachine gun was arrested three weeks ago as he tried to extort money from merchants in southern Guatemala City, and an 11-year-old boy was arrested with two men for committing a murder two days later.
An average of 16 people are murdered daily in Guatemala, according to official figures, making the Central American country one of the most violent places in Latin America.

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