El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has announced the launch of «Phase 5» of his anti-gang Territorial Control Plan, which will allow the country’s Armed Forces to find and «extract» suspected criminals in large cities.
«Today we announce Phase 5 of the Territorial Control Plan that we call Extraction. Taking advantage of the situation and the success we had in the Comasagua encirclement, we are going to replicate it in larger scenarios», detailed the Salvadoran president during the swearing in of new troops for the country’s Army.
Bukele’s plan is to export nationwide military encirclements like the one carried out in the town of Comasagua, with a population of 15,000 inhabitants, but this time in larger cities and municipalities, reported ‘La Nación’.
«With Phase 5 we are going to finish removing this plague from our cities and El Salvador will be an example for the world, although it will not be easy,» said Bukele, referring to the fact that the plan is mainly focused on the fight against gangs.
The president warned that the Armed Forces will capture anyone who wants to «replace» the gang members «so that they can continue their threats against the population», assuring that they will be captured and prosecuted with new penalties approved by the country’s Parliament.
«If someone wants to supply them with weapons, food, ammunition, cell phones, credit, chips or whatever they use to intimidate the population, then you are going to intercept them, both the criminals and those who collaborate with them,» Bukele said, according to ‘El Mundo’.
In the latest report provided by the Salvadoran government, it is estimated that a total of 56,000 gang members have been detained since the state of emergency was decreed in the country, a mechanism that allows the Salvadoran state to suspend certain freedoms and guarantees.
Bukele, who will run for re-election in 2024, has defended the state of emergency as a key instrument of his security plan, in the face of human rights organizations that question the excessive powers granted to the security forces under this regime.