'They will pay dearly for the murder of our hero': El Salvador president sends 5,000 troops to hunt down cop-killer gang members

Over 500 police officers and 5,000 soldiers were sent to a town in northwestern El Salvador after a police officer was murdered by a suspected gang member. The police officer was killed in an attack that took place on Tuesday in the town of Nueva Concepcion, per ADN America.

El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele took to Twitter following the incident, saying: “Given the murder that occurred yesterday, of an agent of our @PNCSV, by gang members who are still in some sectors of our country, in hiding, fleeing the Exception Regime…”

“Starting this morning, we established a security fence around the municipality of Nueva Concepción, Chalatenango, with more than 5,000 elements of the @FUERZARMADASV and 500 of the @PNCSV, in search of those responsible for the homicide and the entire gang structure and collaborators who are still hiding in that place.”

“They will pay dearly for the murder of our hero.”

The report notes that Bukele’s recent measures come amid the widespread crackdown on gangs, which went into effect in late March after 62 people were killed in just three days. Now, under the special powers, the general constitutional protections have been temporarily suspended in an effort to arrest and jail anyone who is even suspected of being a gang member, even if there is no strong evidence.

The Central American country currently plays host to 68,000 gang members who are in prison, with 58,000 still awaiting formal charges of a trial, per the report. The new measure also does not allow those arrested to first consult a lawyer. 

However, human rights groups have widely condemned the measure, suggesting that it will open the door for “systemic” human rights violations by the government.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Director of Amnesty International in the Americas, said: “The deaths of 132 people in state custody, arbitrary detention, mass criminal prosecutions, and the indiscriminate imprisonment of tens of thousands of people are incompatible with an effective, fair, and lasting public security strategy.”

Image: Title: el salvador soldiers