Honduras police killed 152 over past two years

2016-04-26 09:42
A special forces police officer awaits a convoy thought to be carrying captured fugitive Salah Abdeslam at the federal penitentiary in Bruges, Belgium. (Geoffrey van der Hasselt, AP)

A special forces police officer awaits a convoy thought to be carrying captured fugitive Salah Abdeslam at the federal penitentiary in Bruges, Belgium. (Geoffrey van der Hasselt, AP)

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Tegucigalpa - Honduran police killed 152 people over the past two years in various operations with no probes carried out into their use of lethal force, a violence watchdog told AFP on Monday.

The issue of deadly police action is in the headlines in Honduras following press revelations of official documents that appear to show that a cabal of senior police officers took payoffs from a drug kingpin to murder a top anti-drugs official in 2009 and a government security adviser in 2011.

The scandal has galvanized Honduras to step up a purge of the police force.

"We have recorded 152 deaths in police operations in the last two years, 2014 and 2015, and there were no investigations as to whether the officers killed in self-defense, or if there was excessive use of force," the coordinator of the Violence Observatory at Honduras' National University, Migdonia Ayestas, said.

The government has created a commission to get rid of as many as 1 500 officers suspected of links to drug trafficking, extortion and other crimes.

Ayestas noted that it was the third such commission to be set up and that the two previous ones, the last in 2012, produced no results.

"The people are demanding a real and objective purge," she said.

Since 2008, she said, the police killed 601 people, many of them identified as members of vicious gangs.

The years with the highest number of deaths by police were in 2014, with 98 killed, and in 2009, with 95 killed.

In one incident in 2015, Ayestas said, officers killed five members of one gang in the northern city of San Pedro Sula.

"The resources they [the police] use are from the people, paid from the public pockets. And it is for this that they must answer effectively to the people," the expert said.

Read more on:    honduras  |  security

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