viernes, 13 de diciembre de 2013

Police in El Salvador digging up "one of the largest" criminal graveyards

Police and prosecutors in El Salvador were continuing to dig up a burial area recently found in the district of Lourdes outside San Salvador as they searched for 44 individuals reported as missing since November 2012, the Salvadorean daily El Mundo reported on 11 December. The daily cited "informal" information to the effect that the graves could yield up to 100 bodies. Twenty four bodies were found so far, some dismembered, and others said to belong to gang members. Police suspected the culprits here to be members of the Mara-18 or M-18 gang, as the ditches were found beside buildings thought to have been taken over by them. Nobody was arrested so far however, the county's gangs and organised crime prosecutor Rodolfo Delgado was reported as saying. Mr Delgado told the press on 9 December that the burial area could constitute one of El Salvador's largest criminal graveyards to date. Separately, the Minister of Justice Ricardo Perdomo said on 8 December that authorities counted 2,341 homicides in the country "between 1 January and 8 December" 2013, down from 2,465 for the same period in 2012, El Mundo reported. He said authorities attributed 50 per cent of all killings to the gangs, while 65 per cent of victims were ordinary civilians not criminals. Officials have broadly welcomed the truce gangs began in 2012 and said it had halved the murder rate compared to 2011 and before; critics have said it has allowed gangsters to devote time to other criminal activities, like extortion and drug trafficking. Mr Perdomo said the truce was "strictly a private agreement between the gangs. What we can say is what is happening on the ground, through intelligence." He said information indicated increasing rivalries inside the two main gangs, to which he attributed a recent increase in killings in the country.