El Salvador | 50,000 arrests in “war on gangs”
Defence Redefined
Published on 17/08/2022 at 16:05

Police in El Salvador has arrested 50,000 people, since President Naguib Bukele declared a “war on gangs” five months ago, according to the authorities.

The country’s chief of police, Mauricio Arriasa, said they made 50,000 arrests during the emergency period. In fact, 1,283 firearms and over a million dollars in cash have been seized, while 1,543 vehicles, drugs, and mobile phones have also been confiscated.

The measure, adopted in late March after 87 murders attributed to gangs, the so-called “maras” (mara/marabunta), allows the police to make arrests without warrants. It has been extended every month since then by the parliament, which is controlled by President Bukele’s New Ideas party.

The Minister of Justice and Security, Gustavo Villatotto, said that the results of the state of emergency were convincing, as they had a strong impact on these terrorist structures (gangs).

During these 142 days the state of emergency has been in effect, according to Defence Minister, Rene Merino, there have been 77 days with zero homicides, representing an average of 0.77 homicides (per day) during the implementation of the security measure.

Also read: UN | Security Council demands halt to flow of arms to gangs in Haiti

Before the state of emergency, there were 16,000 imprisoned gang members, so the total number now reaches 66,000. Since the implementation of the state of emergency until August 12, official statistics indicated that 85% of the prisoners were male and 15% female.

In addition, 68.9% is accused of belonging to the Mara Salvatrucha gang (MS-13), followed by the Sureños faction of the Barrio 18 gang (17.7%) and the Revolucionarios faction of the same group (12.7%). The remaining 0.7% belongs to the Mao Mao, MS503, Maquina, and Mirada Locos Sureños gangs.

To deal with the skyrocketing prison population, President Bukele has ordered the construction of a giant 40,000-bed prison in the central part of the country, which is expected to open at the end of the year.

The anti-crime campaign launched by the country’s President and promoted through his social networking sites is giving him a record of popularity in the Central American state of 6.5 million residents.

Yet non-governmental organizations, such as International Amnesty and Human Rights Watch in particular, denounce arbitrary arrests, the deaths of many prisoners by the authorities and other human rights violations, Euronews reports.

Also read: Nigeria | At the mercy of “Bandits”




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