published : 2023-10-12

El Salvador Launches Massive Operation to Root Out Gang Members near Capital

Security forces targeted three communities on the outskirts of San Salvador

A photo of President Nayib Bukele addressing the nation, showcasing his determination to root out gang members. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

More than 4,000 security forces have been deployed by El Salvador in a major operation to eradicate gang members near the capital.

President Nayib Bukele announced the pre-dawn operation in a captivating video, vowing to capture the last remaining terrorist lurking in the communities.

The densely populated areas of Popotlan, Valle Verde, and La Campanera were surrounded by soldiers and police, who are actively working to restore peace.

Bukele's determination to root out gang members stems from his commitment to maintaining the hard-earned peace of the nation.

Utilizing emergency powers granted earlier, Bukele has waged an all-out offensive against the powerful street gangs that have plagued El Salvador.

With over 72,000 alleged gang members and affiliates already behind bars, the crackdown has brought a renewed sense of normalcy to Salvadoran communities once gripped by fear.

An aerial shot of the densely populated communities of Popotlan, Valle Verde, and La Campanera, highlighting the scale of the security operation. (Taken with a DJI Mavic 2 Pro)

However, critics argue that these arrests have often been made without due process, leading to the unfortunate detention of innocent individuals.

While the emergency powers temporarily suspended certain constitutional rights, such as the right to know the reason for arrest and access to an attorney, they have also garnered significant support from Salvadorans for their effectiveness.

Yet, despite local support, international human rights organizations and some foreign governments have expressed concerns regarding the methods employed in the operation.

This concerted effort by security forces echoes previous missions carried out over the past year and a half.

Setting up checkpoints at community entrances, questioning drivers, and searching vehicles have become routine practices, allowing for a thorough search for gang members.

La Campanera, with its violent reputation and previous domination by the Barrio 18 gang, stands as a stark testament to the severity of the gang problem.

A close-up of a checkpoint at the entrance of one of the targeted communities, where security forces stop and question drivers. (Taken with a Canon EOS R)

In a similar operation in December 2022, more than 10,000 security forces entered La Campanera and other Soyapango communities, successfully rounding up numerous gang members.

As El Salvador continues its relentless pursuit of fighting gang violence, the impact of this operation extends far beyond the nation's borders.

The narrative of resilience, determination, and the desire for a better future resonates deeply with anyone who understands the crippling effect of gang violence on communities.

The international community watches closely as El Salvador forges ahead, leaving an indelible mark on the fight against organized crime.

This ongoing battle, far from over, represents a testament to the strength and resolve of a nation determined to reclaim its peace.