A Cuban-born engineer who worked for a sugar company in the northern Honduras province of Yoro was murdered, police said Monday.

Israel Antonio Labrado was fatally shot on Sunday at his home in the community of La Guacamaya, regional police spokesman Oscar Sevilla said.

At least two assailants arrived in a vehicle and gunned down the engineer, who ran a small business from his residence, the spokesman said.

Police suspect Labrado may have been killed for refusing to pay protection money to one of the gangs that regularly extort bus drivers, shopkeepers and other businesspeople.

Honduras's 2011 homicide rate of 92 murders per 100,000 people was one of the highest in the world, U.N. experts said in a recent report.

About 18 violent deaths occur in the Central American country daily, according to figures compiled by the National Police and human rights groups. EFE