An Entire Region of El Salvador Has Been Surrounded

Police, soldiers aim to find all gang members president says are hiding there
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2023 1:50 AM CDT
An Entire Region of El Salvador Has Been Surrounded
FILE - Salvadoran Army soldiers patrol in the La Campanera neighborhood in Soyapango, El Salvador, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.   (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez, File)

An entire region of El Salvador has been surrounded by police officers and soldiers as the government attempts to crack down on gangs. The goal is to break gangs' supply chains as well as to keep gang members from leaving the region, the BBC reports. "Since this morning, 7,000 soldiers and 1,000 police officers have established a security fence" around the rural province of Cabañas, President Nayib Bukele posted Tuesday, per Fox News. "Cabañas has become the place with the largest number of terrorists, who came seeking to use the rural areas to hide," he continued. "This massive operation will guarantee greater security for the area, and we will not end it until we find all the criminals."

The poor Central American country is considered one of the most dangerous nations around the globe, and Bukele announced a crackdown on gangs last year. He says members of the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs have fled to rural areas to hide in an attempt to escape the crackdown. This is the fifth mass raid since his 2022 announcement, and one of the most "massive" yet, per Fox. So far, 1% of the country's population (nearly 72,000 people) have been detained and accused of gang membership, which has led to human rights concerns, with some warning that as few as 30% of those detained have any sort of discernible link to organized crime. Others have raised concerns about prison conditions and the possibility of mass trials being allowed. (More El Salvador stories.)

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