El Salvador cracks down on criminal gangs, issues 274 arrest warrants

Warrants

Those targeted include at least 97 suspected members of the MS-13 gang, as well as two lawyers, a doctor and a police officer suspected of cooperating with criminal groups.

The warrants were issued for people living in different regions of the country, prosecutors said.

The announcement coincided with the visit of U.S. Attorney-General, William Barr, who was due to discuss measures against gangs.

Many children living in neighbourhoods where criminal gangs are present in El Salvador and Honduras do not have access to education, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said on Thursday.

Two new reports by the organisation found that children living in areas with violence in Honduras and El Salvador experience pressure, intimidation, sexual harassment and traumatic abuse by criminal groups.

Their daily walk to school is dangerous, and gangs are also present in classrooms and playgrounds.

Gang members have succeeded in infiltrating the schools themselves, they routinely promote the sale of drugs to minors, and extort teachers and students, according to NRC.

In some areas, families are pressured to pay “war taxes” to criminal groups, leaving them unable to pay for uniforms and school materials.