Honduras: 11 Dead in Fight for Land

Tegucigalpa, Aug 16 (Prensa Latina) A struggle over land in the conflict-torn region of Aguan has resulted in 11 deaths since Sunday, officials said.

Five merchants, two women and two men, who were traveling in a vehicle were fired on by one of the conflicting sides when they were mistaken for rivals, HRN radio reported.

Police said it was not known if the attack was carried out by peasants or security guards hired by local landowners to evict the peasants.

Pedro Roberto Benitez, police chief in the department of Colon, said that shots were fired from moving vehicles at the victims.

The land struggle in the Valley of Aguan began several years ago, and has resulted in some 50 victims in the recent months.

On Sunday, six people were killed and 14 injured on a piece of property owned by businessman Miguel Facusse, according to police.

Peasant organizations have occupied seven farms with a total surface area of around 4,000 hectares, claimed by landowners that exploit the African oil palm.

President Porfirio Lobo previously tried to buy those lands from their owners to distribute them to the peasants through the National Agrarian Institute (INA), but the owners refuse to set a price.

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