On September 26, the Armed Forces of El Salvador destroyed almost 900 firearms seized from criminal organizations in the country, with the assistance of specialists from the Organization of American States (OAS) and with the organization’s Secretary of Multidimensional Security Adam Blackwell as a witness.
‘‘The effort to control weapons, a serious issue in our hemisphere, is important’‘, Blackwell told the press after taking part in the weapons destruction process.
M -16 and AK 47 assault rifles, shotguns, machine guns, handguns, revolvers, all seized by the police, were dismantled and destroyed with saws and blowtorches. The operation took place in a barrack located northeast of San Salvador.
Both Blackwell and Salvadoran Minister of Defense, General Atilio Benítez, participated in the activity. Technicians from the OAS’s Program of Assistance for Control of Arms and Munitions (PACAM) oversaw the process.
‘‘Firearms are a problem, because about 80 percent of homicides are perpetrated with firearms in our hemisphere, while in other parts of the world this rate is 40 percent,’‘ highlighted the secretary.
Blackwell is in El Salvador to continue verifying a truce in place since March 9, between El Salvador’s two main gangs: Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 (M-18). This agreement has allowed the daily average murder rate to fall from 14 to 5.5 in the country.
The truce was mediated by military vicar Fabio Colindres and former guerrilla commander Raúl Mijango, who met with Blackwell to discuss the next steps in the process.