(U-WIRE) ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. -A group of 13 St. Mary’s College students and three faculty members studying in Guatemala were robbed at gunpoint and five female students were raped Friday.
The group, participating in a two-week expedition to study Guatemalan history, society and the environment, was returning to Guatemala City after conducting research with CIDECA, a human rights group in the Guatemalan Highlands.
At approximately 4 p.m. Guatemalan time on Friday, four armed gunmen forced the bus off the road into a sugar cane field about 100 yards from the road and committed the crime.
The incident was broken up by Guatemalan police, apparently informed by a bystander who saw the bus forced off of the road. The victims were treated at the Guatemala City Hospital and later returned to the United States.
Guatemalan police arrested one man at the site of the crime, and have since arrested another man in conjunction with the incident.
The chief of the National Police of Guatemala has appointed a special task force to solve the crime, according to St. Mary’s College President Jane Margaret O’ Brien.
The United States Embassy in Guatemala and the State Department have been heavily involved with the investigation.
A feeling of shock pervaded the student body on the campus of St. Mary’s, a coeducational, public college of about 1,500. Students received the news of the incident promptly after returning from winter break in a memo from the administration.