Honduras and El Salvador join to block the passage of gang members along their shared border

Honduras and El Salvador join to block the passage of gang members along their shared border

By Dialogo
July 31, 2015

I would be pleased if they would also join in fighting together with El Salvador as the Central American people we are We all know how the armies operate in this region. It would be good if they'd respect human rights and not have the innocent pay for the sinners Are the soldiers trained enough to identify a criminal? Or is it even to give it all to whoever happens by...

The Armed Forces of Honduras (FAH) and El Salvador (FAES) have joined forces since May to block blind points along their shared border and prevent gang members from crossing from one country to another, according to military authorities in both countries.

“We are confronting gangs that have evolved in crime, that are arming themselves, and they are responding to our fight against crime,” said El Salvador Minister of Defense David Munguía Payés. “So we are taking active prevention and enforcement measures.”

The initiative complements FAES's redoubled fight against gangs in recent months with the deployment of three battalions of Special Response Forces (FER) consisting of 600 service members. In response, gang members have fled to blind points along the border; but FAES is following them there as well, sending service members to the Sumpul Command along the border in the departments of Chalatenango, Cabañas, San Miguel and La Unión.

“In fact, we have reinforced the efforts along the border through the Sumpul Command, and we have a security deployment at 130 blind spots along the border to prevent gang members from crossing and any weapons trafficking they might commit,” said Brigadier General William Mejía, El Salvador Army Chief of Staff, during the XIV anniversary celebrations for the Army Staff Office on July 11.

Meanwhile in Honduras, the FAH is working jointly with the FAES to secure the border in the departments of Ocotepeque, Lempira, Intibucá and La Paz.

“We have increased the presence of our Armed Forces and FUSINA (National Inter-Agency Security Force) to prevent members of Mara Salvatrucha 13 or Barrio 18, from El Salvador, from entering Honduras,” said Brigadier General Fredy Díaz, Honduras Army Chief of Staff on July 12, during the 7th edition of the sports event Honduras Actívate, in Tegucigalpa.

Additionally, Subordinate Inter-Agency Task Force Santa Bárbara (FTIS Santa Bárbara) and the First Engineering Battalion are blocking blind points with explosives and heavy machinery to prevent gang members, drugs or weapons from crossing the border.

The Armies will also continue to support efforts to prevent gang activity in suburban areas -- such as the participation of 70,000 Honduran youths in gangs, according to the National Program for Prevention, Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration (PNPRRS)'s report "The Gang Situation in Honduras". Meanwhile in El Salvador, the Ministry of Justice and Security estimates that 470,264 persons have some tie or relation to gang members.

Trust in the military

In municipalities along the border in both countries, military operations aimed at reducing gang activity have awoken a sense of tranquility and hope in the population.

“We have seen gang members crossing the border, sure, but the soldiers stop them wherever they go. So we feel safe, we know that they are taking care of us,” said 47 year-old carpenter Walter Alfredo Rubio, a resident in the border town of Nombre de Jesús, in El Salvador.

On the other side, in Honduras, residents have also seen gang members and advised military authorities, resulting in their capture.

“Some strange men showed up in the park, some with tattoos, and we told the military,” said one, a 54 year-old housewife in the Honduran border town of La Virtud. “The Troops detained and searched them quickly. How great to have the military so close by! This is the only way we are going to pull these evil gangs out by the roots.”

FUSINA information chief, Military Justice Lieutenant Colonel Santos Nolasco, sent a message of peace to the residents of both countries during a routine operation at the Toncontín airport in Tegucigalpa.

“We are taking measures to prevent gang members from continuing to commit crimes after crossing the borders, we are not going to let criminals continue committing crimes,” said Colonel Paz Escalante.

“We want the people to trust us, because we are going to continue working to reduce gang operations throughout our territory,” Salvador Minister of Defense Munguía Payés said during a routine operation at the Toncontín airport in Tegucigalpa.