Experience spike in homicides, El Salvador declares state of emergency

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele on Sunday (27/3), ordered that a maximum state of emergency be declared in all prisons, where members of gangs he accused of carrying out a recent wave of violence are serving sentences.

The move was announced just hours after Congress, also at the request of the president, passed a state of emergency that would limit individual bail and after the 62 killings on Saturday alone.

In comparison, there were 79 homicides during the month of February.

Meanwhile, authorities are stepping up patrols and raids by police and security forces across the country, with special emphasis on areas in residential neighborhoods where gangs live.

Saturday’s killing appears to be linked to the country’s notorious street gangs, which practically control many residential areas in the capital.

El Salvador’s National Police reported that they had arrested five leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, who they claim ordered the killings this weekend. [uh/lt]