All of El Salvador was shocked today as the country's violence took a horrifying turn. Sunday night in Mejicanos, a suburb of San Salvador, gang members shot at a micro-bus of Route 47, then doused it with gasoline and set it on fire. Fourteen people were burned to death in the bus.
The attack attracted press coverage world-wide. From National Public Radio:
"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...
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.
How do you react to something like this? Go numb? Cry? Pray for the victims and their families? Scream in rage? Demand vengeance? Huddle in fear? Call for more troops in the streets? I have no answers.