miércoles, 29 de enero de 2014

Minister admits murders increased in El Salvador, court frees gangsters

El Salvador's Minister of Justice Ricardo Perdomo admitted on 28 January that the nationwide murder rate had risen in January 2014 compared to the same month the previous year, attributing this in part to coming presidential elections and gang purges, El Salvador's El Mundo reported. He was corroborating the National Police chief's comments to that effect made on 27 January, which one paper had termed contradictory for the positive spin the Police chief seemed to be giving statistics. Mr Perdomo said the Government was expecting the spike in crime, which he attributed to "increasing fighting, internal purges, hired guns and territorial control" by the Mara street gangs. He added that some recent killings were the work of "unknown persons connected to organised crime," and trying to impact voting in the general elections scheduled for 2 February. "We were expecting this resurgence," he said, adding that authorities had said last December they expected more violence in January. Police put at 205 the number of criminal killings in the country "in 27 days of the month of January" 2014, La Prensa Gráfica reported on 29 January. Separately, police detained at an unspecified date 10 presumed members of the Mara 18 gang for their suspected role in the killing of two nursing students in Soyapango outside the capital, a year before, El Mundo reported on 29 January. The daily also reported that day that a court in San Salvador acquitted five members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang of murder charges, after a female witness failed to testify on 27 January. The witness, who apparently had seen the defendants kill a man in San Marcos south of the capital in 2010, was reportedly murdered in May 2013.