SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - Leaders of El Salvador’s major gangs on Friday said their members would no longer attack police and the military in a bid to revive a tattered gang truce and slash high rates of violence that have rocked the Central American nation.
Kingpins of five Salvadoran gangs, including Barrio 18 and its rival Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), said the agreement was reached last Sunday to relaunch a March 2012 truce that cut homicide rates by 40 percent.
But in the first eight months of 2014, homicides reached 2,054, an average of 11 per day, well above the five to eight murders per day registered last year.
“We are all victims of the situation of violence that afflicts the country, and we can’t see positive results if we do not promise our determined collaboration,” the leaders said in a statement.
It said gang members would also seek to avoid attacking “civilian victims,” who are often executed to pressure family members into paying extortion money.
Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Writing by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Ken Wills