Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gang members burn bus in El Salvador, killing 14

Gang members opened fire on a bus on the outskirts of El Salvador's capital, then doused it with gasoline and set it on fire, killing at least 14 passengers in what the president on Monday called an act of terror. Police managed to break windows and help 13 people escape the flames but others died inside. Sixteen people suffered injuries in the late Sunday attack, officials said. "This is an act that seeks to generate terror among the population," President Mauricio Funes said, adding that his security Cabinet was to meet to increase security in the country.

Violent youth gangs have besieged the public transit system in this small Central American nation to extort bus workers and largely impoverished commuters and travelers. The armed assault was the deadliest attack this year on a passenger bus. The attack took place in a gang-plagued part of the municipality of Mejicanos, just outside San Salvador, National Police Commissioner Carlos Ascencio said. At least 14 people were killed, he said. Moments later, gang members opened fire on another bus in the same neighborhood, killing two people.

Ascencio said Monday night that eight suspects had been arrested in the bus burning, including one who was detained minutes after the attack and smelled of gasoline. Among the detained were a woman and two minors. Earlier, Funes said seven suspects had been detained, most accused of being members of the Mara 18 street gang. Justice Minister Manuel Melgar called the attack "a typical terrorist act," but said the motive was under investigation. At least 217 drivers and other employees of El Salvador's public transport industry have been killed over the last year and a half in suspected gang attacks, said Catalino Miranda, president of the national federation of transport workers and businessmen. Most victims were shot to death.



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

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