Eastern Cape police have said that a man has been found dead with a bullet wound to his head. File photo.

Guatemala City - A wave of violence claimed the lives of six women and girls, including two young whose bodies were found early Wednesday dumped in the street, authorities said.

“Guatemala awoke in mourning,” said a statement from the Survivors' Foundation, a group that has sought to draw attention to violence against women in Guatemala. “We demand these crimes be solved.”

The girls, aged six and 12, displayed “apparent signs of strangulation,” a report by firefighters said.

Their bodies were found in the middle of the street in a southern district of the capital, near where the body of a 35-year-old woman was found “with a gunshot wound to the face and gagged with adhesive tape,” firefighters said.

The body of a fourth woman that also showed signs of violence was recovered in a nearby neighborhood, the report said.

In the town of La Union, 205 kilometers (127 miles) east of Guatemala City, a woman and her 16-year-old daughter were shot dead outside a school, local authorities said.

Drug traffickers and armed gangs are blamed for an epidemic of violence that has claimed more than 5 000 lives in 2012, one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America, according to official figures.

The police said about 700 women a year are victims of deadly violence in Guatemala. - Sapa-AFP