SAN SALVADOR: Three Central American presidents announced on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) they are forming a joint force to combat gangs and organized crime groups that have made their countries among the most dangerous on Earth.
The initiative by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will start to be implemented in September, Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren told a news conference after a meeting with his counterparts in his capital city.
Police and soldiers from the three countries will patrol border zones to fight arms and drug smuggling, and the movement of criminals and gang members, he said.
The three nations are collectively known as the Northern Triangle — a region that falls prey to gangs dealing in murder, extortion and drugs.
The homicide rate in each nation is topped only by countries engulfed in war. Collectively, there were 17,422 murders in the three countries last year.
Sanchez Ceren, Guatemala’s Jimmy Morales and Honduras’s Juan Orlando Hernandez also agreed to keep exchanging intelligence on criminal groups and to speed the arrest and extradition between their countries of wanted suspects.
“We are fighting for the most fundamental of human rights, the right to life, the right to liberty, the right to enjoy the fruits one one’s honest labors,” Hernandez said.