Stats point to growth in massacres and vigilantes

According to statistics from El Salvador's attorney general (FGR) and published in La Prensa Grafica, the number of massacres is increasing and more than 40% are committed by groups other than the gangs.

From January 2014 through October 2016, there were 277 massacres in El Salvador, defined as multiple homicide events in which more than three persons were killed.    Of those massacres, the attorney general's office says that 157 (57%) were committed by the gangs and 120 (43%) were committed by vigilante groups known as "groups of social cleansing,"  by killers for hire, and by narco-traffickers.   The massacres in total claimed 1011 victims.  

These FGR statistics contrast with statements from the National Civilian Police, who have always contended that the vast majority of murders in the country are committed by the gangs.

58% of the victims were identified as gang members, while the remainder did not have an identified gang nexus.

There has been a pattern of increasing numbers of these multiple homicide massacres over the past three years as the level of violence in the country has increased.  

Former Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales pointed to the vigilante groups as one of the significant sponsors of violence in the country, a fact that law enforcement authorities in the country have been unwilling to acknowledge.