martes, 11 de junio de 2013

Gang killings continue in Honduras in spite of pledge to stop

Although the gangs of Honduras pledged last May to end their violent acts, raising hopes that crime could drop in Honduras as it has in neighbouring El Salvador, recent killings attributed to street gangs indicated they had yet to act on their stated intentions. One recent victim of gang criminality was a 31-year-old man shot on 9 June outside the northern city of San Pedro Sula, after he refused to hand over his house to a gang. Relatives of Cristhian Fajardo Sánchez fled the family home after one of the gangs told them they needed the property, but neighbours were cited as saying that he refused to leave - living there in a state of fear and locking himself in every evening after returning from work in a bottling plant, the Honduran daily La Prensa reported on 10 June. Three gunmen reportedly shot him as he walked to work one morning; witnesses said they were waiting for him at a street corner and shot him as he sought to walk past and ignore them. It was not immediately which of the gangs killed him, as he was reported shot on the frontier of the territories of the Mara Salvatrucha and M-18 gangs. In other incidents: the head of the state electricity firm ENEE for the northern city of Progreso was shot there on 11 June as he sought to enter a taxi, and a 63-old-woman was gunned down in Tegucicalpa on 9 June, apparently while cleaning the Protestant church she attended. The killing was attributed to an execution squad of 12 Maras, and police suspected this may have been for the victim's earlier efforts as head of a residents' association to reopen an abandoned police post in her neighbourhood, La Prensa reported. The daily also reported the shooting deaths of a Guatemalan couple while driving in Choloma in the northern department of Cortés, and of two taxi drivers in San Pedro Sula and Tegucicalpa on 9 June.

Gang suspects held around Colombia, Anglican priest shot in Bogotá

Colombian authorities reported on 11 June arrests in different localities of 17 suspected members of the Rastrojos, one of the country's leading criminal gangs; they were to be charged with conspiracy to murder for presumed criminal activities that included killings, Radio Santa Fe reported. Thirteen of the suspects were detained in the district of Arjona in the northern department of Bolívar, the remainder in the departments of César and Norte de Santander, the broadcaster reported. Police also announced the arrest of the suspected head of another national gang Los Urabeños for the western port of Buenaventura, a suspect dubbed La FEl Colombiano reported on 11 June. The suspect was sought on homicide and related charges; he was caught in the city of Cali where he reportedly ran operations that included shipping drugs along Colombia's Pacific coast, and gold mining. Colombian media reported several killings in the capital and in Medellín. In south-western Bogotá, an Anglican priest and his lawyer were shot dead early on 11 June in what was initially reported to be a robbery. The victims were alternately said to have been shot in their car, which two gunmen stopped as it drove toward the district of Villavicencio at four in the morning, or taken away and shot in the district of Kennedy in the capital, Caracol radio reported. In Medellín, three men - one aged 17 - were shot dead late on 9 June by gunmen said to be wearing police uniforms, while six at least were shot dead on 8 June around the department of Antioquia that includes Medellín, El Colombiano reported. Homicides in Medellín were reportedly continuing an upward trend compared to 2012; the Antioquia security affairs chief Arnulfo Serna Giraldo said there were 503 homicides in Medellín from the start of 2013 to 9 June, compared to 499 for the same period in 2012, El Colombiano reported.