SAN SALVADOR ( Associated Press) – More than 10,000 members of the Salvadoran armed forces and police, backed by elite security forces, completely locked down a city on the outskirts of the capital and the country’s third-most populous municipality on Saturday. , Gang members are active in the area to chase.
“As of these moments, the municipality of Soypango is completely surrounded,” President Nayib Bukele told on his official Twitter account. “8,500 soldiers and 1,500 agents have surrounded the city, while police and army teams are working to flush out all the gang members one by one,” he said.
Units of the Police Operational Tactical Section, along with soldiers, controlled all access to Soypango, seven kilometers northeast of the capital, which until a few months ago was one of the gang’s main strongholds.
All passenger and private vehicles are being inspected and people must identify themselves to enter and leave the area, while counter-terrorism units search communities to locate and apprehend gang members.
In a message to the residents of Soypango, Bukele said that “ordinary citizens have nothing to fear and can live their lives normally. This is a campaign against criminals, not honest citizens.”
The operation is led by the Minister of Security, Gustavo Villatoro, and National Defense, Rear Admiral Francis Merino Monroy, as well as the Director of the National Civil Police, Commissioner Mauricio Arriza Chicas.
Soyapango, with over one million inhabitants, became the first municipality to intervene within the fifth phase of the territorial control plan – called “Extraction” – implemented by Bukele to combat the gangs. The scheme seeks to trace and apprehend criminals living in communities.