El Salvador's president deploys military amid surge in homicides

El Salvador’s president has deployed military troops to patrol the streets in an effort to combat rising homicides in the country.

We have deployed our PNC [National Civil Police] and our Armed Forces to contain the increase in recorded homicides in the last 48 hours,” President Nayib Bukele said on Facebook Wednesday.

Bukele said there are “dark forces” at play in the homicides and that he “ordered raids” by authorities in the areas where the killings have taken place.

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The president's announcement followed 30 homicides that occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday, Reuters reported.

A government source told the outlet a majority of the troops will be in San Salvador, the capital of the country.

Since Bekele took office in 2019, homicides have averaged less than two per day, with a local newspaper alleging the government made a deal with the gangs that dropped the homicide rate. 

The move to deploy the military is likely to draw backlash from critics, who say Bukele is leaning toward authoritarianism in his tenure, according to Reuters. 

Those who criticize don't know how hard it is to go into danger, in the early morning, risking their lives to protect others,” Bukele said in the Facebook post.