El Salvador Celebrates Its First Murder-Free Day For Three Years

Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 16/04/2012 15:43 Updated: 16/04/2012 15:43

El Salvador
Gang violence has been rife on El Salvador's streets

El Salvador had its first murder-free day for three years on Saturday marking an important milestone in the country's battle against gang violence raging on its streets.

El Salvador's President, Mauricio Funes, credited his new security measures for the country's first murder free day since his election to office.

Under Funes, El Salvador's army has grown by almost 60%, in a gang crackdown which saw military forces patrolling the streets as well as a former army general appointed as head of police in January.

The Central American country has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, according to the United Nations. Over the last three years around 12 people have been killed each day in El Salvador and there were up to 18 murders a day at the beginning of 2012.

A truce between two warring drug gangs that was reportedly brokered by the Catholic church has also been seen as an important step in reducing the number of murders.

Funes denied being part of the peace agreement between El Salvador's major drug cartels, Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 but admitted to allowing 30 gang leaders out of prison to give order and direction to the warring factions after the truce.

However while crime is down in El Salvador, murders in the neighbouring country of Hondorus has risen to an all time high.

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