More than 240 homicides were reported in the first 10 days of June in El Salvador. That’s up from 140 for the same period in 2014, totaling a staggering 2,417 killings this year alone, according to the latest figures published by the local media.
In the midst of the increasing violence, the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador has described the situation as “difficult and grave.”
Police estimates place the daily homicide average so far this month at 24, while last month’s figure was 20, and some days it was up to 33.
The numbers show that femicide, the murder of women, is also occurring more frequently. Approximately 190 women have been killed this year (five of them on one day, June 12) in incidents throughout the country.
“The situation of violence in the country is difficult and grave,” United States Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte warned during the inauguration of a course on hate crimes organized in El Salvador by the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) on June 9.
“However, the government of El Salvador is making efforts at this time,” she added.
The ILEA operates in El Salvador, for the Central American region, after an attempt to establish it in Costa Rica failed in 2003 due to strong opposition by local civil society members claiming the academy posed a militarization threat to the nation that abolished its army more than 60 years ago.
“In addition to helping protect American citizens and businesses through strengthened international cooperation against crime, ILEA’s mission is to buttress democratic governance through the rule of law, and enhance the functioning of free markets through improved legislation and law enforcement,” according to the U.S. Department of State’s website.
ILEA’s aims also include improvement of “social, political, and economic stability by combating narcotics trafficking and crime.”
Aponte said the U.S. intends to maintain its support of the Salvadoran government’s endeavor regarding security, and underlined that “we have a strong commitment to back in the security field, which is a field that affects all Salvadorans.”
“We will be here, with our commitment from way back,” she added.