Honduras murder rate falls

Last updated 18:30 18/02/2014

Relevant offers

Americas

US transgender battle sees 11 states attempt to overturn directive Woman driver knocks over her mum to flee police in traffic stop Barack Obama stops for noodles with Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam Protests turn violent outside Trump rally in New Mexico The definitive analysis of a truth-seeker's $1.5 million plan to 're-create 9/11' Two capybara escape from zoo in Canada US to seek death penalty against accused South Carolina church shooter Dylann Roof Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders make all-out blitz in California primary Teen defies parents to secretly take his boyfriend to prom winning the internet Watch: 'Chewbacca Mom', James Corden and JJ Abrams are happy Chewbaccas

The murder rate in Honduras, the Central American country with the world's highest number of homicides per capita, fell last year according to a United Nations-affiliated report released on Monday, although the number of "atrocious crimes" ticked up.

Honduras has suffered a wave of violence in recent years, as Mexican drug cartels have expanded into the country, enlisting local street gangs and using the country's often lawless Caribbean coastline as a pit stop for U.S.-bound cocaine from South America.

The murder rate fell by 6.5 percentage points in 2013, a security institute sponsored by the U.N. and part of Honduras' national university said in its annual report.

Migdonia Ayestas, who leads the institute, told Reuters that violent homicides fell to 79 per 100,000 people last year from 85.5 in 2012.

"But we saw a noticeable increase in the number of atrocious crimes, including mutilations and decapitations, with bodies thrown into the street, which cause terror in the population," she said.

The atrocities, which are a relatively new phenomenon in Honduras, bear the hallmarks of Mexican cartels, who engage in a grisly form of one-upmanship to instill fear in rival gangs.

Honduras, a country of some 8.5 million people, suffered an average of 19 murders each day in 2013, down from 20 the year before, the report found.

Neighbouring El Salvador has regularly had the No. 2 murder rate for countries not at war, although comparable figures were not immediately available.

Putting an end to Honduras' cycle of violence was the main theme in last year's election, won by the National Party's Juan Hernandez.

He has vowed to restore order, adopting a militarised approach to taming the warring gangs.

Critics say a similar military-led move in Mexico, rolled out by former President Felipe Calderon in 2007, only served to increase the violence as the cartels splintered, creating dangerous power vacuums.

Others fear the possibility of rights abuses as soldiers do a job usually performed by police

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content