El Salvador Overcomes ‘Security Adaptation’ of Gangs, Defense Minister Says


San Salvador, Aug 23 (EFE) .- El Salvador’s gangs have adapted to the early stages of the government’s security plan, so the homicide figures accumulated up to July 2021 have seen an increase, but the Defense Minister René Merino told Efe that there was a “turn of the wheel”.

Official data indicates that in August, the situation of the increase in violent deaths reversed, which, according to Merino in a telephone statement to Efe, is due to the larger deployment of soldiers.

“What is happening is that the gang members, as we developed phases 2 and 3 (of the plan), they left, I would say, adapting, they got used to which was being done, ”he said at the request of why this hike.

According to police figures provided to Efe, between January and June 2021, 660 homicides were committed, which is 10.7% more than the 596 recorded in the same period of 2020. In July, this cumulative increase rose to 5 , 6%.

Despite these data, the presidency said in a publication in early July that the country ended June with a “sustained drop in homicides”.

Executive Nayib Bukele has implemented the Territorial Control Plan (PCT) since 2019, to which he attributes the drop in killings in recent years.

The first phase consisted of deploying police and soldiers in the most violent localities in an attempt to cut off the sources of funding for the gangs.

The second was on intervention in communities with social programs to “challenge” gangs to recruit young people, while the third was to “modernize” the equipment of the security forces.

Regarding the second and third phases, the minister stressed that “it has not developed as planned” for lack of resources.

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