Monday, June 21, 2010

El Salvador: Gang violence kills fourteen

The murder of a northern Mexico mayor was the latest killing in a nation wracked by violence related to drug gangs. Several hundred miles south, however, the Central American country of El Salvador is reeling after brazen attacks against innocent civilians.

According to police street gang members were behind the deaths of sixteen people on Sunday. In the first attack, witnesses described armed men on motorcycle stopping a bus in San Salvador, dousing the vehicle with gasoline, and set it ablaze. Rescuers tried to save passengers by breaking windows after the assailants reportedly blocked the exit doors.

Ten minutes after that incident gunmen boarded another bus and opened fire, killing three people including two girls.

Eight suspects have thus far been arrested in the attacks that President Mauricio Funes labeled as “acts of terrorism.” Despite an increased crackdown on gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha, violence by criminal groups such as extorting bus companies continues to be common in El Salvador. It’s no wonder then that some Salvadorans opt to flee their country:
(Jose) Alfaro Peralta returned to San Salvador in 2005 after working for 40 years in Los Angeles and set up a small grocery store. But the unrelenting violence in his Salvadoran neighborhood has made life here impossible, he said. He plans to return to Los Angeles.

"I gave my statement today to the state prosecutor, and you know what he told me? He said I'd better go back because here there is no safety."
Image- CNN
Online Sources- Los Angeles Times, Reuters, AP, AHN, AFP, BBC News

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