Latin America & Caribbean

Guatemala bus accident kills 14

People stand around a bus after it plunged into a ravine near San Marcos in western Guatemala
Image caption Survivors said the brakes on the bus failed

A bus crash in Guatemala's western highlands has killed at least 14 people and injured at least 25 others.

The victims were all ex-paramilitaries who had been working for a government reforestation project.

They were travelling to collect their pay in the town of Concepcion Tutuapa, 280km west of Guatemala City, when the bus left the road and plunged into a 50m (164ft) deep ravine.

Traffic accidents are frequent on Guatemala's mountain roads.

"The driver was going very fast and when we got to the curve his brakes failed and we went into the ravine," one survivor of the accident told local media.

There were about 60 passengers on the bus, all of them former members of the paramilitary civil patrols set up by the military to combat left-wing rebels during Guatemala's 1960-1996 internal conflict.

Hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans from rural communities were forced to join the civil patrols, and veterans have since campaigned to receive payment for their service.

The reforestation project the victims of the accident were working on was part of a government programme to create employment for ex-paramilitaries.

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