martes, 20 de agosto de 2013

El Salvador sees yearly increase in August murders

El Salvador's National Police counted 161 homicides nationwide from 1 to 19 August, or 50 per cent more than in the same days in 2012, the Salvadorean daily El Mundo reported on 19 August. This suggested a continuation of the trend of resurgent violence observed in recent months, interpreted as indicating a possible faltering of a ceasefire declared between the main street gangs in March 2012. In total however there were 392 murders fewer so far this year than in the same period in 2012, El Mundo reported, citing police figures.  This was presumably for the period 1 January to 19 August. The National Police chief Rigoberto Pleités was cited as blaming gang violence but also increased alcohol consumption during August holidays for more homicides. The President and ministers have viewed the ceasefire and its results favourably, while opposition politicians, some bishops and some state officials such as the director of public prosecutions, Luis Martínez, have criticised the enterprise with varying vehemence, complaining it has benefited criminals far more than the public. On 18 or 19 August Mr Martínez discussed with the deputy-head of the Police Mauricio Ramírez Landaverde plans to boost police presence in the Soyapango and Ilopango districts outside San Salvador in response to reported violence and the nocturnal "curfew" gangsters have imposed there, the website elsalvador.com reported. It cited the state's chief prosecutor as saying "a week" earlier that there was not just a curfew in those neighbourhoods but also "the sound of war...of extortion, of homicides, there is everything...we are going to reduce the crime index, that free and easy conduct of the criminal gangs." The Public Security Minister Ricardo Perdomo reportedly contradicted the chief prosecutor regarding crime in the district, in one of several public disagreements now over security. Mr Martínez said he and the deputy-police chief reviewed recent police actions in the two districts, adding "we are not going to permit this hypocritical peace." He urged local mayors not to obstruct the police there; "it is not so much asking for their support as asking the mayors not to obstruct this work. We are not prepared to allow them to obstruct the work and affect hardworking people with these deceptive pacts." The Government insists no "pacts" have been made with gangs.

Colombian soldier reported killed by rebels, two missing

A Colombian soldier was killed and two were reported missing after undated fighting with members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in the north-central department of Antioquia, the broadcaster Caracol reported on 20 August. The fighting occurred between the districts of Urrao and Andes, and involved members of the FARC's Front 34; the broadcaster cited a local army commander as saying troops were looking for the guerrillas, thought to be hiding in hilly country in south-western Antioquia. The Army separately reported on 20 August that three "presumed members" of the FARC's Southern Block had surrendered to the Army Sixth Division on 19 August or just before, in the southern departments of Caquetá and Putumayo. One FARC rebel surrendered in the district of Orito in Putumayo, another between Puerto Asís and Mocoa in that department and a third fighter in Florencia in Caquetá, the Sixth Division's press office reported adding that with these, 120 guerrillas had so far surrendered in 2013.