martes, 28 de enero de 2014

Police chief says murders stable in El Salvador, "in spite of reports"

The head of El Salvador's National Police said on 27 January that the nationwide murder rate was broadly stable in spite of media reports to the contrary and of a "fictitious spike" in murders in January 2014 compared to January 2013. Rigoberto Pleités was cited as giving 199 as the number of murders reported nationwide in the period 1-26 January 2014, higher than 171 reported killings for those days, or for all of January, in 2013; the rise he said was not real for the boost given by a recent string of killings, El Salvador's El Mundo reported on 28 January. Mr Pleités said the killings thus far in January translated into a daily rate of 7.7, and compared favourably with daily murder rates of some recent months - August 2013 for example with 7.8 killings a day, September with 8.1 killings, or November with 8.6. These were considerably below the double-digit rates for daily killings the country witnessed before the two main gangs began a ceasefire in March 2012. In separate incidents, Police and troops detained six suspected gang members with four assault weapons, as they sought to flee arrest in the district of San Rafael Obrajuelo south east of the capital, Elsalvador.com reported on 27 January. The website separately reported the shooting deaths on 26 January of two suspected members of the Mara-18 gang, in Apopa, north of the capital. One was sought by police on murder charges, though users of Internet social networks were reported to have identified both as employees of a bus route linking Apopa and the capital. The website observed they may have died in a purge within the M-18 gang.

Ten killed in Colombian prison brawl, fire

Nine or ten prisoners were killed in a prison in Barranquilla in northern Colombia on 27 January and some 50 injured and burned, following a brawl that provoked a fire, media and police reported. A fight was said to have broken out when certain inmates stabbed a prisoner for reporting the existence of a drugs cache in the prison, while some inmates set fire to mattresses as fighting began, El Colombiano reported on 28 January. The head of the prison employees' union INPEC, Óscar Robayo, told La F.M. radio station on 28 January that the incident could easily recur in any of the country's 142 prisons, for overcrowding. He said "all the establishments are time bombs and this sort of anomaly can occur....we have been denouncing these anomalies for three years, the product of stricter laws. Parliament passed laws without taking into account the impact they would have on" prisons, the setting he said of "spillover overcrowding."