Americas

Gang violence in Honduras prisons kills 37 inmates

Infamous MS-13 gang orders riots in prisons, challenging Honduras government's emergency measures announced last week

Vakkas Doğantekin   | 24.12.2019
Gang violence in Honduras prisons kills 37 inmates

ANKARA 

Riots in Honduras prisons ignited by the notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang have killed 37 inmates since Friday, according to a government official. 

Assistant Security Minister Luis Suazo said Monday the gang, commonly known as MS-13 in Americas, ordered the deadly prison protests in response to emergency measures decreed by the government last week to curb gang violence across the country.

“We have information that the MS is behind this and gave the orders to carry out these attacks,” said Suazo, adding that the "attacks" were launched by MS members in all cases.

The death toll from Sunday’s riots in the municipality of El Porvenir, some 115 kilometers (71.5 miles) from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa rose to 18, while Friday’s riots at city of Tela left 19 others dead.

The federal government of the poverty-stricken Central American country last week declared a state of emergency in a bid to reduce weapon infiltration throughout the National Prison System as well as to limit the power of gangs inside the prisons.

Suazo said the security measures aim to break the alliance that MS-13 "had established with many prison officers" who condone their illegal activities within the prison walls.

Honduras, with a population of nearly 10 million, has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.

Founded by Ernesto Miranda in 1980 in Los Angeles, California by Salvadoran migrants, the MS-13 gang rapidly spread to Central America when its criminal members began to be deported to El Salvador over time.

Most of its members, numbered around 50,000 globally, are Central American and Salvadorans in particular.

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