Soldiers and Police Guard Dangerous Neighborhoods in Honduras
By Dialogo November 03, 2011
Honduras began to deploy joint Army and police forces in dangerous neighborhoods of the capital and other major cities, seeking to tamp down a spike in violence that has given the country the world’s highest homicide rate.
In the Central American nation, plagued by executions linked to Mexican drug traffickers who have extended their activities southward, hitmen shoot people with impunity on the streets, in businesses, and in bars of the major cities.
Bullet-ridden bodies are also frequently found in vehicles or along roads, and others that have been mutilated are found in remote locations, terrorizing the population of the country, where seven out of ten people live in poverty.
As part of Operation Lightning, Soldiers armed with M-16 rifles are patrolling streets in the capital, Tegucigalpa, where they have set up checkpoints for vehicles and people, while military helicopters fly over areas where drug traffickers and gangs that victimize the inhabitants through extortion operate.
Around 1,000 personnel, including Soldiers and the elite police Urban Counterinsurgency Unit (COBRA), are participating in the operation, while will be gradually extended to other cities and regions of the country.
“We’re trying to bring peace and tranquility to the population in cities where there is more violence, both from common crime and from organized crime,” said the head of the Armed Forces Joint General Staff, General René Osorio.