Honduras gang leaders vow to curb violence

Tegucigalpa, May 29 (IANS/EFE) The jailed leaders of Honduras’ two most powerful gangs promised Tuesday to curb the violence in their country and asked the forgiveness of God, society and the authorities.

“We ask God to enlighten us…to help us through this process, more than anything we ask forgiveness before God for everything we have done, we also ask forgiveness of society if we ever did harm, and we ask the authorities to pardon us,” a member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, or MS-13, said.

The determination of the MS-13 and chief rival M-18 to work at reducing violence was expressed by their leaders at a prison in the northern city of San Pedro Sula, with the mediation of Catholic Bishop Romulo Emiliani.

An MS-13 member said that what they have resolved in their gang is “zero murders, zero street violence, going to work” and that the government is helping them with handicraft workshops so they can earn their living in an honourable way.

One of the M-18 representatives said their resolution “isn’t just words”, they want to show with deeds their readiness to “work together to lower the rate of violence”.

“We know we did something bad, that’s why we’re asking people to pardon us. We need them to listen to us and we give them our word that we will curb the amount of violence and maintain better control,” he said.

The Honduran gangs’ announcement came a day after six gangs in El Salvador handed over, through the Organization of American States, or OAS, 154 weapons and explosive devices, as part of a truce that has contributed to lowering the number of homicides in that Central American country.

–IANS/EFE

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