HomeNewsBriefUniformed Men Massacre Alleged Gang Members in El Salvador
BRIEF

Uniformed Men Massacre Alleged Gang Members in El Salvador

EL SALVADOR / 11 MAY 2015 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

The recent massacre of 10 alleged gang members by men dressed as security forces raises the possibility of death squads in El Salvador, adding confusion to an already murky and violent security situation. 

The alleged gang members were killed in two incidents that occurred in rural areas in the southeastern province of Usulutan on May 10, reported La Prensa Grafica

In the first incident, a witness said they saw men dressed in what appeared to be police and army uniforms, marching in an organized fashion towards the site where the killings took place. The uniformed men allegedly ordered seven victims out of two different houses and executed them in a nearby street with shots to the head and chest. Among the dead was an alleged gang member wanted for murder. 

The mother of one of the victims said her son and others had gathered in one of the houses to celebrate Mother’s Day, but police said they had been informed that the group was gathering to plan robberies and extortions, reported La Prensa Grafica. 

The second incident — in which two teenagers and a 21-year-old man were killed — occurred near a town about an hour away. All three were reportedly suspected gang members as well. The perpetrators of the crime were allegedly dressed in black clothes and ski masks, reported elsalvador.com

In public statements, El Salvador’s police and armed forces dismissed the possibility that their personnel were involved, stating that they did not have operatives in the area at the time of the killings.   

InSight Crime Analysis

The confusion surrounding the recent killings illustrates just how murky El Salvador’s security situation has become. On the one hand, the idea that Salvadoran security forces could be involved in the murders is plausible given the historic use of death squads during the country’s civil war, reports that El Salvador’s powerful street gangs have launched police assassination campaigns, and increasingly violent rhetoric from security officials. On the other hand, Salvadoran gangs have been known to wear counterfeit uniforms, which authorities claim they use to disguise themselves in order to assassinate rivals and carry out other crimes. There have been several recent cases in which police have seized uniforms from gang members. 

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

What is certain is that the violence and chaos have made it extremely difficult to determine who is carrying out these types of crimes. So far this year, 119 people have been killed in 29 massacres in El Salvador, up from 16 massacres in 2014, according to La Prensa Grafica. In light of the confusion surrounding these incidents, President Salvador Sanchez Ceren’s recently announced plan to deploy elite army units to combat crime is particularly concerning. Similar militarization of citizen security in Mexico have been liked to a rise in human rights abuses — a scenario that could be replicated in El Salvador. 

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

DRUG POLICY / 24 MAY 2019

In late March, President Donald Trump followed up on his threat to suspend US aid to El Salvador, Honduras and…

EL SALVADOR / 15 DEC 2015

The infiltration of criminal groups into El Salvador's security forces is a serious and ongoing threat, according to the government,…

CUBA / 14 JUN 2018

Luis Posada Carriles died on May 23, 2018, in his house in Miami. He died an old man, at 92…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…