Thursday, June 15, 2006

El Salvador death squads targeting criminals: Church

El Salvador seems to be slippin into past bad habits. The cycle is tragic. Civil war refugees to Los Angeles get gangsterized, imprisoned and now are being hunted down "systematically" by groups of killers. Talk about the reverbarations of war, which the we fueled immensely. Talk about human rights.

A spike in the number of murders of gang members and criminals in El Salvador is raising concern that resurgent death squads are carrying out "social cleansing," the Catholic Church said on Thursday.

Last year, 3,812 people were murdered in the Central American nation where a civil war between Marxist guerrillas and the right-wing government raged from 1980 to 1992, up from 2,993 killed in 2004.

Church lawyers said in a report that the killings "systematically" targeted criminals, and recalled the brutal murders of rebels and sympathizers carried out by right-wing death squads during the war.

"The systematic nature of the cases leads one to believe that they have been committed to sow terror and carry out social cleansing," the report said.

The Church did not say who might be responsible for the killings, but during the conflict it was mostly members of the security forces.

In recent years, El Salvador and neighboring Guatemala and Honduras have suffered a surge in crime carried out by Hispanic street gangs originally formed in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

In April, El Salvador's police chief said regional governments could wipe out the tattooed street mobs in two months by treating them like opponents in a war.


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