CaptionThe severed head of a gang member lies in the exercise ground after a prison riot. Youth gangs (known as 'maras') in Guatemala City were originally formed by the children of indigenous farmers, who fled the countryside in the 1980s during ongoing civil war and squatted on the outskirts of the capital. The youths imitated the style of Guatemalans deported from the US for gang activity and soon became involved in organized crime, murder, extortion and drug trafficking. Gang violence has now become part of everyday life in Guatemala. In August, gang rivalries erupted in a coordinated series of battles in four prisons across the country, leaving at least 30 prisoners dead and dozens more injured.