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19 Feb 2020 | 04:42 AM UTC

El Salvador: Government deploys hundreds of soldiers nationwide in efforts to fight crime February 18 /update 2

President Bukele deploys soldiers to fight crime amid tension with Congress February 18; heightened security presence to be expected

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Event

On Tuesday, February 18, President Nayib Bukele announced the deployment of hundreds of soldiers across El Salvador in efforts to fight crime. A total of 1400 additional soldiers were deployed alongside 8600 others, all with the objective of fighting crime, often due to the several gangs present in the country. The news comes days after Bukele and congress members disagreed about the president's proposed spending plan.

A heightened security presence is to be expected nationwide. Checkpoints are also possible.

Context

Heavily armed members of the police force and army forcibly entered Parliament in San Salvador on February 9, ahead of scheduled address by President Bukele. President Bukele was due to speak with members of parliament on February 9, about a proposed loan plan that would supply the police and armed forces with equipment and other resources to fight crime.

El Salvador is considered one of the most dangerous states in Central America. Media reports do indicate, however, that the homicide rate has been falling. In 2019, 2383 homicides recorded, which is 963 fewer than 2018, which recorded 3346 homicides.

Advice

Individuals in San Salvador are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate a heightened security presence throughout the country, and obey instructions issued by local authorities.