El Salvador: August most violent month on record since civil war
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El Salvador: August most violent month on record since civil war

Violent clashes between gangs across El Salvador resulted in 907 reported deaths during August, the highest number on record since the country’s bloody civil war during the 1980s.

So far this year, 3,828 deaths have been recorded as a result of the violence, the BBC reports.

A total of 3,912 murders were reported during the whole of 2014.

Worrying trend

The country’s Legal Medicine Institute (IML) reported 660 murders on August 23: the July total was 467.

El Salvador suffered a wave of violent deaths between August 16 and August 18.

“In the past three days we have seen an increase in murders, the total recorded in this period has been 125 deaths, the majority of victims are gang members.” Director of El Salvador’s National Police force, Mauricio Ramírez told Milenio.

“(The gang members) are fighting amongst themselves and we are combatting crime just as they are doing in the areas where they operate, it’s obvious that there are going to be deaths.” Ramírez added.

Time for a truce?

The increase in murders could be due to the expiration of the three-year truce between the country’s principal gangs: Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18.

Established in 2012, the murder rate had dropped by 40 percent.

Peace time meant improved social conditions, education and work opportunities in poor areas most affected by country-wide violence.

But a lack of transparency and the opportunity to undertake illegal activities such as drug trafficking and extortion meant that the truce did not have such a positive effect as desired by El Salvador’s government.

The worrying increase in murders means that the country could soon not be far off Honduras, the country with the highest reported murder rate in the world.

See also:

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, ranked Latin America’s most dangerous city

El Salvador president plans anti-gang crackdown

Homicides in El Salvador up 57% after gang truce ends