Honduran troops are stationed at villages on the borders of El Salvador because members of the ruthless MS13 gang are killing and extorting residents.
The entrance to the Honduran border town of Camasca is well-guarded. A column of the army’s special forces stops vehicles along the paved road that winds through the mountains to La Esperanza, the capital of the department of Intibucá.
The soldiers are there solely to halt the intrusion of the MS13 gang from neighbouring El Salvador into Honduras’ borderlands.
This terror arrived in Camasca, a de facto regional capital, and its surrounding areas toward the end of 2016. As Mara Salvatrucha graffiti began to multiply, houses began to empty.
Disturbing stories are coming from Colomoncagua and Magdalena, villages closest to the Salvadoran border. Murders that began with bullets and ended with bodies chopped up with machetes. Payments of $100 are demanded every two weeks from those known to be receiving remittances from the United States. A Salvadoran gang leader, José Isaías Barahona, is responsible for this who recruited Honduran youth under the banner of the MS.
Isaías is a member of the Sailors Locos Salvatruchos (SLS), one of MS13’s oldest cliques. The cell dates to the 1990s in San Miguel.
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