14 Gang Members Killed in El Salvadoran Prison
Authorities in El Salvador announced that 14 members of the notorious Barrio 18 gang were killed in prison over the weekend.
As reported by the BBC, authorities said the bodies of the men were found in two separate locations during a routine inspection of a prison in Quezaltepeque, a municipality about nine miles in from the capital city of San Salvador.
An investigation has been launched into the murders that are believed to be the result of an internal gang feud.
Due to the extreme violence between rival gangs, El Salvador boasts one of the highest murder rates in the world. As reported in the Guardian, over 3,830 people have been murdered in El Salvador this year alone. The rate of murder averages around one killing an hour.
On Wednesday, El Salvador police announced that there had been at least 125 murders in only three days.
In July, the Barrio 18 gang ordered a bus strike which resulted in the deaths of seven bus drivers that were apparently killed when they declined to follow the gang’s orders. The gang was demanding to be included in a commission examining ways of curbing urban violence.
President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a former rebel commander during El Salvador’s civil war, came to power in 2014 saying that he would focus on tackling crime.
“We need to fight against organized crime, drug trafficking, extortions and all expressions of violence and we’re going to do so using all legal instruments of the state,” he said, as reported in Bloomberg.
Jose Miguel Cruz, a gang researcher at the Latin America and Caribbean Center at Florida International University, says that El Salvador’s gang problem will have to be handled from within as well as without.
"There is no way of resolving the violence in El Salvador and northern triangle of Central America without talking with the gangs, but only as part of a broad strategy which includes prevention, rehabilitation, demobilisation and disarmament,” Cruz told Al Jazeera. “There can never be peace without addressing the deep corruption in the criminal justice system."
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