Crime & Justice

El Salvador has had 12 murder-free days in August, police say

San Salvador, Aug 18 (EFE).- El Salvador, now in the fifth month of a state of emergency enacted with the stated aim of battling gangs, has enjoyed 12 days free of homicides so far this month, the National Civil Police said Thursday on Twitter in a post that was re-tweeted by President Nayib Bukele.

But several of those days were marked by the deaths of alleged gang members in confrontations with police.

In a similar vein, Bukele tweeted recently that July was the “safest month in the history” of El Salvador, without providing any details, while police have yet to release statistics on total homicides during the first seven months of 2022.

Murders fell 15 percent in this Central American nation of 6.5 million inhabitants last year compared with 2020, according to figures released by the president’s office in January.

The Legislative Assembly, dominated by Bukele’s rightist party, voted Tuesday night to extend the state of emergency for another 30 days.

It was in the wake of an eruption of violence in late March that saw 87 homicides in three days that Bukele persuaded congress to grant him special powers to battle the Mara Salvatrucha gang, also known as MS13.

The state of emergency entails the suspension of constitutional guarantees and allows police to detain people without warrants and in the absence of grounds that would stand up to judicial scrutiny.

As of Tuesday, the number of people detained under the emergency stood at 50,000 and the presidents insists that his government is winning the “war against the gangs.”

NGOs and the national ombud’s office have received more than 3,000 complaints about human rights violations in connection with the state of emergency, most of them for arbitrary arrest.

Human rights advocates and Salvadorian media say that more than 52 detainees have died in custody, but the government refuses to confirm or deny those fatalities.

A succession of governments has struggled to subdue MS-13 and the other gangs, which actually originated in Los Angeles among the children of Salvadorans fleeing the country’s 1980-1992 civil war.

Convicted gang members deported back to their homeland from the United States established the gangs on Salvadoran soil, where the number of members is currently estimated at around 70,000.

Prior to the state of emergency, according to Bukele, some 16,000 gang members were behind bars. EFE sa/dr

Related Articles

Back to top button