El Salvador: gangs step up killings before election
With the highest murder rate in the world, violence is escalating even further in the run-up to the country’s February 3rd presidential elections. Sources indicate that gangs are using the violence to pressure politicians to include them in electoral platforms or to work towards a truce similar to the one secured in 2012, a truce that authorities argue was used to further extend criminal power centers. In 2018, murder rates fell to 50.3 per 100,000 inhabitants, down more than half from the rate of 103 per 100,000 in 2015. Over the first 16 days of 2019, at least 169 murders have been recorded in the country, including five law enforcement officers. The global murder rate average is 6.2 per 100,000 inhabitants.