February 17, 2016 / 11:27 PM / 4 years ago

Murders in Honduras drop 12 percent in 2015 as drug bosses extradited: group

A forensic technician walks past a crime scene where five people were gunned down in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Homicides in Honduras fell 12 percent in 2015 thanks in part to the capture and extradition to the United States of drug cartel bosses, a United Nations-backed organization said on Wednesday.

The murder rate in the impoverished Central American country dropped to 60 per 100,000 people from the 2014 rate of 68 per 100,000 people, according to the respected National Autonomous University of Honduras’ Observatory of Violence program.

In addition to the capture of cartel leaders, the observatory attributed the lower rate to the dismantling of gangs of hitmen.

In the last two years, Honduras says it has extradited eight gang leaders to the United States.

Since taking office in 2014, President Juan Hernandez’ ramped-up military offense against drug traffickers and gangs has dramatically driven down the homicide rate.

But since the military was first deployed under his predecessor in 2012, allegations of abuses by soldiers have also risen.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Sandra Maler

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