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Honduras again extends state of emergency to fight violent gangs

Members of Honduras' DIPAMPCO (Police Anti Maras and Gangs Against Organised Crime Directorate) frisk people while doing rounds in a low-income neighborhood. Tegucigalpa, Honduras November 26, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Honduras on Friday extended the country’s existing state of emergency that suspends some constitutional rights, to tackle violent gangs within the country.

Ordered by President Xiomara Castro, in response to the activity of several large criminal organizations, the extension of the state of emergency is the third of its kind that is set to last another 45 days until May 21.

The state of emergency has enabled authorities and the police to make arrests without warrants and hold suspects in preventive detention.

"This legal measure has made it possible for security authorities to capture more than a hundred members of criminal organizations," the government said in a statement.

The state of emergency also enables the authorities to partially suspend constitutional rights in affected areas, while there has been increased security in lower-income neighborhoods.

According to authorities, the gangs have carried out extensive campaigns of extortion against businesses, transport drivers, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), employing violence against entities that do not pay protection money.

Gangs such as the MS-13 and Barrio 18, have an extensive presence throughout Central America, and according to reports, gang violence is the highest in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.

Previously, Castro had ordered to deploy soldiers across the nation to fight violent criminal groups.

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