sábado, 14 de julio de 2012

Guatemala detains gang, murder suspects

Police and troops detained 26 or 27 suspected members of Guatemala's Mara gangs on 13 July in and near Ciudad Guatemala, in the second sweep against gang structures in days, EFE reported on 14 July. The detained were suspected members of the Mara-18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), and were sought for crimes including murders committed on 10 June 2010 at the behest of gang leaders held in the El Boquerón prison in the Santa Rosa department near the frontier with El Salvador. Prosecutor-General Claudia Paz y Paz was reported as saying that the detained were specifically involved in the decapitations of five individuals on that date, in an apparent act of intimidation. More than 100 policemen and troops, as well as prosecutors and members of the CICG, the United Nations commission against impunity in Guatemala, took part in the sweeps. Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla told the press in Guatemala City on 13 July that the detained were also suspected of extorting money from businesses around the country.

El Salvador gangs take step to disarm

El Salvador's two main criminal gangs surrendered in a symbolic gesture a part of their weapons stockpile at a public ceremony in San Salvador, EFE and other media reported on 13 and 14 July. This was part of a "partial disarmament" agreed earlier between the gangs and the secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS) José María Insulza. Insulza was in El Salvador on 12 and 13 July to monitor a ceasefire agreed on last March between the gangs Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the M-18, which dramatically reduced murders in following months. Insulza met with gang leaders in a prison outside the capital on 12 July and listened to their proposals. They reportedly asked that the OAS be a guarantor of their ceasefire and of a process "leading to social peace." On 13 July hooded members of the gangs' "street structures" deposited 77 or 87 pieces of weaponry, many being old or rusty, in the square outside San Salvador Cathedral; Insulza later declared that the Maras were showing their willingness to pursue the pacification process and that this could be a precedent for other crime-ridden Latin American states, Notimex reported. One of the mediators, the former leftist guerrilla and writer Raúl Mijango, said in turn that 120 days of ceasefire had saved about 1,096 lives.