President Nayib Bukele expressed last night that «the fight against the gangs is not going to go backwards,» after reporting on the murder of three members of the National Civil Police (PNC) who were ambushed by gang members when they were carrying out a routine patrol in the La Realidad neighborhood, in the municipality of Santa Ana.
The president emphasized that the actions to curb the criminal scourge of these groups will not diminish; on the contrary, they are going to increase in the national territory, with emphasis on the area where the gang members of the 18 Sureños murdered the police.
«If [the gangs] think we’re going to back down, that’s not going to happen. We are going to increase [operations], even if your allies and friends don’t like it,» was the message sent by the Salvadoran president.
The first actions of the PNC after learning of the triple murder were successful, as a gang member, identified as José Héctor Bernal Colocho, alias Negro, was wounded and captured.
He had been released from prison three days before the start of the emergency regime, according to Bukele.
He will be interrogated to obtain details about the ambush and its material and intellectual authors.
The Salvadoran president recalled that many international human rights NGOs have questioned the implementation of the emergency regime, «but they have not said anything for these victims [police officers] or for their families or their children.»
«I’m pretty sure it’s cause for celebration for some of the NGOs and some of the gang-friendly media outlets, who are watching for something bad to happen to our country to celebrate,» he said.
He added that this act of violence against the police force is an irrefutable sign of the need for the emergency regime and support for the security authorities.
The PNC began yesterday to carry out patrols in the La Realidad neighborhood to find the rest of the attackers; while Bukele announced that operations will be increased in the areas that have been identified as having the presence of gang members from the 18 Sureños.
According to the president, both the police and the armed forces have the capacity to increase their operations if the security situation requires it.
«We must maintain a constant force, increasing it in times of emergency, and this is one of them. You will see much more presence of our security forces throughout the country, but especially in Santa Ana », he reaffirmed.
The president sent a message to the affected families, telling them that they will have all the necessary support and guaranteeing that none of the three murders will go unpunished.
«This will not go unpunished. Investigations are already underway to catch the culprits, but not only them but the clique, the gangs », he indicated.
Carlos Antonio Velásquez, one of the murdered agents, was a PNC inspector and served as head of the emergency unit in the municipality of Santa Ana.
Last Monday, he had graduated from a human rights course, and yesterday, in a cowardly manner, gang members murdered him along with two other elements.