Gangs Impose Curfew on Honduran Neighborhoods

By Dialogo
February 06, 2013

Juvenile gangs or “maras” imposed a curfew in a highly populated area in the Honduran capital’s west, where stores have been forced to close early, and families were forced to lock themselves inside their homes, the press reported on February 4.

“We want all stores closed and people in their houses by 7:00 pm,” say the signs placed on lamp posts across humble neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa by gang members.

Neighbors who refused to identify themselves for fear of retaliation, told the press that members of Mara 18 (M-18) and another gang identified as “Los Chirizos” walked from house to house informing them that they could not leave their households after 7 p.m.

Due to the threat, all neighbors heeded this demand, which affected businesses and urban public transportation; further, church members were forced to carry on their duties before that time.

On the morning of February 4, two bodies were found in the area, with their hands tied in the back and shot in the head.

On the night of January 18, six people were massacred as they were sitting on the sidewalk in front of a house by alleged gang members in Las Ayestas neighborhood.

And in August 2012, the dismembered bodies of three young men were found.

“We have kept police presence in this area at all times; the Metropolitan Police and the Criminal Investigation unit have always been there,” Police spokesman, commissioner Héctor Iván Mejía confirmed.

He added that “no neighbors have reported anything” about gang’s threats, although he admitted that people might be silent for fear.

According to the United Nations, Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world: 92 per 100,000 inhabitants.

President Porfirio Lobo and his government have started an offensive against crime, including the use of the Armed Forces to support the Police. However, violent deaths are not decreasing.