El Salvador recorded more murders in March than in any other month during the past decade, as gangland violence and drug trafficking continue to ravage the nation of 6 million.
Citing figures from the country’s National Civil Police (PNC), the newspaper La Prensa Grafica reports that at least 481 people were murdered in March — or almost 16 a day. The figure represents a 52% increase from the same period last year
The Central American nation has been rocked by renewed bouts of violence after a two-year truce between notorious gangs MS-13 and Barrio 18 collapsed last year.
Following the end of the cease-fire, the country’s security forces have taken a harder line with gang members and drug traffickers. In January, the director of El Salvador’s PNC said law-enforcement officials had the right to shoot suspected criminals with “complete confidence.”
“There is an institution that backs us. There is a government that supports us,” Mauricio Ramírez Landaverde told reporters during a press conference.
Nearly 40 police officers were killed in the line of duty last year. However, analysts say police deaths in 2015 will surpass that figure.