jueves, 7 de febrero de 2013

El Salvador officials say murders continue to fall

Officials declared on 6 February that El Salvador's homicide figures were in January 2013 less than half those of January 2012, even as they admitted that a ceasefire between gangs that helped reduce murders had yet to end violent crime in El Salvador. The Security and Justice Minister David Mungía Payés told a San Salvador press conference that authorities counted 190 homicides in January 2013, 54 per cent less than the 413 for January 2012. He attributed this as on previous occasions to police action and the ceasefire between the Mara street gangs. Extortions reported in January dropped 18 per cent year-on-year, he said. Munguía admitted there had been a slight rise in violent acts recently in spite of the ceasefire and that "purges" were going in the gangs including in districts selected as crime-free zones; "we have entered a process that has helped us reduce violence, but this has not finished. The ceasefire is not a perfect process," he said. He attributed the killings of four on 1 February in the city of San Miguel east of San Salvador to gang rivalries. The latest victims of crime in El Salvador were two cousins aged 15 and 16 years, earlier reported as kidnapped and found dead on 5 or 6 February in Apopa, a district north of San Salvador, elsalvador.com reported. Most or all readers' comments left on various websites reporting such crimes indicated that the public was entirely skeptical, and often contemptuous, of official declarations on improving crime figures.

Gang suspects detained in Colombia, Peru

Anti-drug police detained at an unspecified date 15 suspected members of the Urabeños trafficking gang including three working policemen, in raids carried out in districts and towns in northern Colombia, media reported on 7 February. The raids followed four to six months of investigations and the suspects were held in Santa Marta, Valledupar, Fundación and Maicao, the broadcaster Caracol reported. The policemen had been working for six years in the police forces of the northern departments of Magdalena and César. State prosecutors ordered detained the wife, mother, sister and nephew of one of the policemen for suspected collaboration with the UrabeñosEl Espectador reported. Separately a prominent member of the Urabeños was arrested in Lima at an unspecified date, apparently while buying arms for a possible gang war, and presented to the media on 6 February. Jacinto Nicolás Fuentes, dubbed Don Leo, a former head of the Urabeños in the Antioquia department and suspected collaborator of FARC guerrillas, was tracked as he travelled to Ecuador in October 2012 and caught in collaboration with Peruvian police, El Espectador reported. The daily cited Colombia's police chief José Roberto León as saying that Fuentes was likely buying arms ahead of a fight being planned with the gang Los Rastrojos against a rival gang La Oficina de Envigado. Peru's national police chief Raúl Salazar said in Lima on 6 February that the Urabeños were thought responsible for some 800 deaths during 2009-11 and Fuentes had ordered six killings from Lima in the preceding week, EFE reported. The Colombian Defence Ministry separately reported on 6 February the capture of nine suspected members of the rival gangs La Empresa and the Urabeños. The detained members of the Empresa were suspected as involved in 15 or more killings in the south-western port of Buenaventura amid fighting with the Urabeños to control local traffickingthe ministry stated. 

Guerrilla bomb kills two in south-western Colombia

Two were killed on 5 February as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) exploded a car bomb near the village or town of El Palo in the Cauca department, Europa Press reported, citing Colombian media. The FARC reportedly intended to detonate the artefact inside the town but were foiled by the arrival of troops and shooting that followed. The victims were provisionally identified as a soldier and a civilian. Colombia's police chief José Roberto León Riaño ordered the security of police stations boosted on 6 February in response to a recent resurgence of FARC activities. He said 14 policemen had died in January for FARC attacks, Europa Press and El Espectador reported. A priest was also reported killed at home on 3 January in the district of Riosucio in the western department of Caldas, Europa Press reported, citing the Catholic agency MISNA. Father José Ancízar Mejía Palomino, aged 84, was the third priest to have been killed in the preceding 20 days, Europa Press reported.