If you remember last week, we reported on the government of El Salvador officially designating all domestic gangs as terrorists. This was to a spike in homicides recently. Over a span of three days-August 16th through 18th-125 Salvadorans have been killed. By the end of the week, 220 lay dead. Authorities say that the killings were the gangs’ response to the “war” the government is waging against the gangs, such as MS-13 and Barrio 18. It was the most tragic week in the history of El Salvador. The Salvadoran Forensic Institute has surmised that, since August 11, the battle between the government and the gangs has produced 3,603 casualties, an average of 14 murders per day.
Janeth Aguilar, director of the Institute of Public Opinion at José Simeón Cañas University, told the PanAm Post, ““El Salvador is on track to become the most violent country in the world. According to the number of murders in 2015, the homicide rate this year could reach 92 homicides per 100,000 people. That’s the highest in El Salvador’s history, and would be the highest in the world.”
Aguilar also stated, “The surge in homicides is the consequence of gang radicalization. It is a retaliation against the government, which the gangs claim has killed, persecuted, and committed abuses against their members. It is the outcome of the state’s violent and arbitrary response.”
As a further development on the gangs being terrorists, the PanAm Post wrote:
Under Salvadoran law, a terrorist is someone who triggers mass panic, “significantly attacks physical or legal assets,” or potentially damages “the democratic system, the security of the state, or international peace.”