Squadrons of Social Cleaning

The wave of homicides in El Salvador continues to generate theories about the causes and solutions in the Salvadoran press. The newest theory, advanced by the office of the Catholic archbishop in San Salvador, is that dozens of recent murders of gang members have been conducted by squads conducting "social cleaning." Contrary to the assumption that many gang members are murdered by rival gang members, some have raised the possibility that there are persons conducting extra-judicial executions to rid El Salvador of the gang scourge. This theory asserts that a large number of recent killings of gang members have been conducted with the victim's hands and feet tied and a bullet through the head, in a style reminiscent of death squads, and not of gang wars and drive-by shootings.

Diario CoLatino reports that the Human Rights Procurator will open an investigation into the possibility that groups are conducting their own vigilante justice within El Salvador.

Meanwhile La Prensa reports today a new plan by the PNC to target the areas with the greatest incidence of homicides in a concerted law enforcement approach involving police and prosecutors. The targeted areas are Soyapango, Sonsonate and Colón.