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Residents look on near a crime scene where people were gunned down in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, August 14, 2016. Unknown assailants killed eight people outside a bar at the crime scene at Altos de Loarque neighbourhood, local media reported. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Eight people were shot dead by unknown assailants early on Sunday in the outskirts of Honduras's capital Tegucigalpa, police said, an apparent reprisal attack in a bloody gang dispute that has devastated the poor Central-American nation.

The victims were attacked outside a bar in the southern Altos de Loarque district, an area dominated by Honduras's infamous Mara Salvatrucha (MS) gang. Several men got out of a lorry and opened fire with rifles and pistols, a police official said.

Hours earlier, on Saturday, two people were killed and five injured in the nearby La Rosa neighbourhood, which is controlled by a rival gang, Mara Barrio 18.

"The attack in Los Altos de Loarque seems to be a response to the incident in La Rosa, part of the conflict between MS and 18," a police official told reporters at the scene of the crime.

The gangs, which are involved in extortion, drug dealing and contract killings, are fighting over the control of neighbourhoods in major cities across the country, where the homicide rate last year was 60 deaths for every 100,000 people.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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