Honduras vows to crackdown on gangs after massacres
Honduras police are investigating a pool hall shooting that killed 11 and how it may be linked to a previous massacre that killed 26 female inmates.
Honduran authorities have initiated an El Salvador-style raid and captured a suspect in a pool hall shooting that killed 11 people on Saturday.
El Salvador has long been regarded as one of the most violent countries in the world with gangs mushrooming all across the nation and undermining the rule of law.
Police stated they were looking into whether the pool hall shooting was retaliation for last week's gang-related slaughter of 46 female inmates, which was the biggest atrocity at a women's jail in recent time.
The Honduran administration has promised a curb on gang violence and imposed curfews.
Military police, who have assumed control of the country's jails, uploaded images on Monday showing male convicts forced to sit in rows, legs spread and touching, during a search to recover contraband in one prison.
Most of the tactics used resemble those made famous last year by Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele during his anti-gang drive. Bukele's severe tactics have weakened organized crime and received criticism from the West for being inhumane.
During a search of a men's jail in Tamara, the same town where the women's prison massacre happened, military police reported they discovered ammo, rifles, and explosives.
The killing at a women's jail in Tamara, north-east of Honduras' capital, infuriated the population and prompted searches, curfews, and a crackdown.
Female convicts from the Barrio 18 street gang smuggled in firearms, machetes, and flammables and after overpowering guards stormed into cellblocks containing members of a rival gang. They fired gunshots at victims, beat others to death, and burned victims in their cells.
While the pool hall killings happened in Choloma, in Cortés province, to the north of Tamara, investigators believe the two incidents are linked.
Miguel Pérez Suazo, the national police commissioner, said officials had apprehended one suspect in the pool hall killings and were seeking others.
Suazo stated that the crimes "could be some sort of revenge for what happened in the women's prison," as Choloma is allegedly the home city of the Barrio 18 gang.
The commissioner also believes police cannot rule out the possibility that it could have been "some type of revenge by criminals against civilians."
Xiomara Castro, the President of Honduras has placed the military police in charge of the country's understaffed jails and given them a year to train additional guards.
She also declared curfews in the Choloma region, as well as "raids, captures, and checkpoints 24 hours a day." Choloma's curfew will be in effect from 9 pm until 4 am, while neighboring city San Pedro Sula will begin a curfew on July 4.