Following a peak in violent crime from Friday, April 24, through Sunday, April 26, which resulted in at least 40 homicides nationwide, President Nayib Bukele issued police the authorization to use lethal force against gang members. Specifically, Bukele stated that the lethal force is authorized in cases of self-defense or in defense of the life of a Salvadorean. Further, the president called for the total isolation of correctional facilities on April 24, where the arrested gang members are held. Thirteen of those 40 homicides occurred in the eastern part of the country.
Security analysts have indicated that gang members were taking advantage of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown measures active in the country with the intention of curbing the spread of the virus.
A heavy police presence is to be expected in the coming weeks as authorities mobilize following the president's directives.
Individuals in El Salvador are advised to report suspicious objects and behavior to the police, remain vigilant for gang activity, remain indoors, and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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