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ANALYSIS

17 Dead in Honduras Gang Massacre

HONDURAS / 9 SEP 2010 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Honduras is seeing the fallout from Tuesday’s grisly massacre inside a shoe factory, when three perpetrators used AK-47s to slaughter 17 people.

Honduras is seeing the fallout from Tuesday’s grisly massacre inside a shoe factory, when three perpetrators used AK-47s to slaughter 17 people. The minister of security has said the incident is related to a turf war between gang rivals, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Barrio 18, as the factory allegedly operates on 18 territory (it could also be a vengeance killing, as among the dead is the factory owner’s son, the minister said). The factory owner himself was spared as he supposedly left just before the massacre, in order to buy a present for his son, and says that his 25 employees were not linked to the maras. It could be this was a copy-cat killing of the massacres often employed by Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) to terrorize and intimidate the local population. San Pedro Sula, Cortés, where the factory is based, is one of the two municipalities in Honduras where the Zetas reportedly operate, and the region is a key area where gangs refine and traffic cocaine to the US. With an estimated 36,000 members of the maras operating in Honduras, it looks as though the shoe factory slaughter is the latest indication of the country’s growing security crisis.

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