Friday, November 25, 2005

Salvadoran gangs extorting "taxes" from bus drivers

Bus drivers are demanding the authorities provide greater security from gangs the Associated Press reports. Gangs control certain bus routes and demand that the transportation companies pay a "tax." Those who refuse may be killed. So far this year, 92 bus drivers and conductors have been killed and 110 wounded in assaults by gang members. The police report that as many as 2600 of the 13,000 buses which circulate in El Salvador pay such taxes to the gangs. Last week, five transportation workers were murdered in one night, prompting bus drivers to refuse to drive certain routes until additional security was provided.

Meanwhile, Salvadoran president Tony Saca has ordered more troops into the streets in the areas of the country most affected by gang violence. Soldiers from the armed forces, including armored vehicles, will supplement existing joint patrols between the military and the national civilian police.

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