Salvadoran Special Forces Units Crack Down on Gangs in 50 Cities

Salvadoran Special Forces Units Crack Down on Gangs in 50 Cities

By Dialogo
May 15, 2015




The Salvadoran Armed Forces (FAES) are deploying three Special Response Forces (FER) Battalions comprised of more than 600 service members to fight criminal gangs in 50 municipalities.

Since April 18, these highly specialized Troops have been discreetly operating alongside National Civil Police (PNC) forces to improve public safety for the civilian population.

“These Battalions have greater Military experience and will support public security maintenance operations where they need to act with greater force against the criminal activity afflicting the country,” said Minister of Defense Minister Major General David Munguía Payés.

In one such area, Zacatecoluca, MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha) and Barrio 18 (M-18) gangs are waging bloody battles for control over territory. There, the Battalions on April 19 repelled an armed attack launched by 30 members of Barrio 18 – nine of whom were killed. The deceased gang members were carrying two M-16 rifles, two 9mm pistols, a shotgun, and a large quantity of ammunition.

The FAES is committed to bringing peace to areas where gangs are committing violence, said one Battalion member, who identified himself only as First Lieutenant “Halcón” for security reasons.

“Our mission is to perform detailed reconnaissance in municipalities where gangs have terrified the residents. We will not give them a chance to keep killing our people, and we are vigilantly watching their movements.”

Disabling training cells


Ministry of Defense and FAES intelligence groups are also following the activities of armed gang members who train in rural regions in several departments, such as La Paz, San Vicente, and San Salvador.

“The leaders of these groups have already been captured, so we expect their level of activity will be lower. We continue to track down the rest of the gang members because there is a lot of movement in the rural areas. Our mission will always be to protect the civilian population,” Defense Minister Munguía Payés said.

FAES Troops have already made progress in dismantling gang cells that engage in firearms training. For example, in early April the MARTE Task Force located a group of MS-13 gang members who were firing shots at an improvised bulls-eye target. When they noticed the Military presence, the gang members opened fire on the patrol. The Military service members fired back, wounding two gang members and arresting another two, from whom they seized an Uzi submachine gun.

The Military will not be deterred


The gangs also attacked Military bases after the incident in Zacatecoluca. However, President Salvador Sánchez Cerén said the assaults will not diminish the Military's efforts to support public security work.

“The heartfelt casualties the Armed Forces has suffered in the line of duty will not intimidate us, nor will they decrease our efforts in the fight against crime. Our Armed Forces are making a significant contribution to protecting an indispensable environment for our people to have a safe life,” the Commander-in-Chief said.

The presence of the Military in the highest conflict zones has made residents feel more confident.

“The Armed Forces have the capabilities, the weapons, and the knowledge to disable these groups. The gangs are afraid of them,” said Armando Sigüenza, 49, a civil engineer who lives in San Salvador.

A relentless battle


Military leaders know they must remain vigilant in the fight against violent gangs. Retired General Mauricio Ernesto Vargas, a security and national defense analyst, said that FAES Troops are confronting gangs directly and will not waver in their efforts to improve public safety.

“We are not battling disorganized crime, we are not dealing with dispersed criminal activity; it is all part of one structure that is operating within the national territory. And in the face of this insecurity emergency, we have no choice but to overwhelm the gangs.”







The Salvadoran Armed Forces (FAES) are deploying three Special Response Forces (FER) Battalions comprised of more than 600 service members to fight criminal gangs in 50 municipalities.

Since April 18, these highly specialized Troops have been discreetly operating alongside National Civil Police (PNC) forces to improve public safety for the civilian population.

“These Battalions have greater Military experience and will support public security maintenance operations where they need to act with greater force against the criminal activity afflicting the country,” said Minister of Defense Minister Major General David Munguía Payés.

In one such area, Zacatecoluca, MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha) and Barrio 18 (M-18) gangs are waging bloody battles for control over territory. There, the Battalions on April 19 repelled an armed attack launched by 30 members of Barrio 18 – nine of whom were killed. The deceased gang members were carrying two M-16 rifles, two 9mm pistols, a shotgun, and a large quantity of ammunition.

The FAES is committed to bringing peace to areas where gangs are committing violence, said one Battalion member, who identified himself only as First Lieutenant “Halcón” for security reasons.

“Our mission is to perform detailed reconnaissance in municipalities where gangs have terrified the residents. We will not give them a chance to keep killing our people, and we are vigilantly watching their movements.”

Disabling training cells


Ministry of Defense and FAES intelligence groups are also following the activities of armed gang members who train in rural regions in several departments, such as La Paz, San Vicente, and San Salvador.

“The leaders of these groups have already been captured, so we expect their level of activity will be lower. We continue to track down the rest of the gang members because there is a lot of movement in the rural areas. Our mission will always be to protect the civilian population,” Defense Minister Munguía Payés said.

FAES Troops have already made progress in dismantling gang cells that engage in firearms training. For example, in early April the MARTE Task Force located a group of MS-13 gang members who were firing shots at an improvised bulls-eye target. When they noticed the Military presence, the gang members opened fire on the patrol. The Military service members fired back, wounding two gang members and arresting another two, from whom they seized an Uzi submachine gun.

The Military will not be deterred


The gangs also attacked Military bases after the incident in Zacatecoluca. However, President Salvador Sánchez Cerén said the assaults will not diminish the Military's efforts to support public security work.

“The heartfelt casualties the Armed Forces has suffered in the line of duty will not intimidate us, nor will they decrease our efforts in the fight against crime. Our Armed Forces are making a significant contribution to protecting an indispensable environment for our people to have a safe life,” the Commander-in-Chief said.

The presence of the Military in the highest conflict zones has made residents feel more confident.

“The Armed Forces have the capabilities, the weapons, and the knowledge to disable these groups. The gangs are afraid of them,” said Armando Sigüenza, 49, a civil engineer who lives in San Salvador.

A relentless battle


Military leaders know they must remain vigilant in the fight against violent gangs. Retired General Mauricio Ernesto Vargas, a security and national defense analyst, said that FAES Troops are confronting gangs directly and will not waver in their efforts to improve public safety.

“We are not battling disorganized crime, we are not dealing with dispersed criminal activity; it is all part of one structure that is operating within the national territory. And in the face of this insecurity emergency, we have no choice but to overwhelm the gangs.”




They should send those elements both to the rural areas as well as to the Soyapango neighborhoods, specifically in the connected hills of San Bartolo 3 hills 4 and fight this ton of bugs who intimidate the population. Urgently! I think it's fantastic and it's about time, too, for the people to collaborate with law and order to eradicate once and for all these groups of imported criminals. Finally brute force to fight the violence we experience in El Salvador They should be sent to Cojute, there you can't walk safely. You have to ask for permission on each block to go in and if you don't report to the person manning the post, you don't come out alive I'm envious, here in Honduras they use the Military Police to watch over the malls instead of providing security Why don't you all try to modify the genetics of coca seeds?
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