Bukele announces siege plan to ‘extract’ gang members from Salvadoran cities

Ciudad Arce, El Salvador, Nov 23 (EFE).- Soldiers will be deployed to siege large cities of El Salvador to catch gang members and continue with the “war on gangs,” the country’s President Nayib Bukele announced Wednesday.

El Salvador has been under an emergency regime since the end of March, which suspends several constitutional rights, after a wave of murders claimed the lives of more than 80 people in three days.

Bukele added that “eight months and thank God we are winning. In fact, we are winning it in a way that all the experts said was impossible (…) nobody believed that we could win the war against the gangs in just a few months, nobody.”

Under the state of emergency, more than 58,000 gang members and people linked to these gangs have been captured, he added.

However, the president said Wednesday that “there are still gang members left and we have to go and extract them,” for which he also announced the launch of phase five of the Territorial Control Plan, involving at least 14,000 soldiers.

“Phase five is the phase of extracting the criminals that still remain in those communities,” Bukele said on the outskirts of San Salvador. No time was given for questions from the press.

According to the Salvadoran president, the plan is about “surrounding large cities and executing the process of extracting the terrorists who are inside those cities without giving them the chance to escape.”

These sieges will begin “in the next few days,” he assured.

Bukele launched the Territorial Control Plan at the beginning of his term in 2019, to which he attributes a drop in homicides and of which five phases have already been supposedly implemented, to curb the sources of financing of the gangs and to retake gang-controlled areas. EFE


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