HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Authorities Blame MS13 for Surge in Killings of Police
BRIEF

El Salvador Authorities Blame MS13 for Surge in Killings of Police

EL SALVADOR / 17 NOV 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Authorities in El Salvador say the MS13 is responsible for the eruption of violence against police officers this month, a sure sign that the security forces will scale up their offensive against the gang. 

Public Security Minister Mauricio Ramírez Landaverde said that the recent attacks against police officers are in response to "Operación Jaque" (Operation Check), an ongoing investigation that has dismantled the financial structures of top MS13 leaders, reported El Diario de Hoy

Eight police officers and three soldiers have been killed in the past ten days, according to La Prensa Gráfica. Those figures account for nearly 20 percent of the 64 public security personnel that have been killed so far this year.

Attorney General Douglas Meléndez said that his office "has some information" that incarcerated MS13 leaders are ordering the attacks, reported El Mundo. He added that "they are using various mechanisms" to spread their message, including via "word of mouth in the corridors."

"We are definitely worried," Meléndez said. "I believe they are doing these attacks in order to intimidate, to lower the morale of the police."

Local media first reported in early November that the MS13 and two rival factions of the Barrio 18 gang were planning a "stepped-up war against the system." A few days later, Meléndez said that prosecutors were investigating potential gang attacks against security and judicial officials. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The escalating conflict between El Salvador's gangs and its security forces is reaching new levels of hostility. Authorities have already retaliated to the latest attacks by sending 30 gang members they say are responsible to the maximum-security prison known as Zacatraz, where they will be kept in isolation. But threatening declarations from the heads of the country's security institutions suggest the worst is yet to come. 

"[The MS13] is going to discover that its attempt to neutralize state action against crime by way of assasinating members of the police and armed forces is the worst decision it could have made," said National Police chief Howard Cotto. Ramírez Landaverde echoed that statement by saying that the gang was about to begin experiencing "its worst moment."

SEE ALSO:  MS13 News and Profile

This situation certainly does not augur well for respect for human rights among the security forces, a perennial concern in El Salvador. Police killed nearly 700 suspected gang members between January 2015 and August 2016, an average of more than one per day. With gang killings of police officers on the rise, it would hardly be surprsing if the security forces respond in kind. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 15 SEP 2015

El Salvador's recent capture of Jose Misael Rodriguez Cisneros, alias "Medio Millon" is the second time El Salvador's…

EL SALVADOR / 8 MAY 2013

The key witness against the alleged Central American drug trafficker known as "Repollo" says he bribed El Salvador judges to…

BARRIO 18 / 29 MAR 2012

Despite President Mauricio Funes' denial that his government struck a deal with gang leaders to lower homicide rates in return…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Oceans Pillaged in Central America and the Caribbean

5 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the first installment of a nine-part investigation uncovering the hidden depths of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Latin America. The first installment covered Central America and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…