El Salvador Has Murder-Free Day

    A Mara Salvatrucha gang member attends a mass celebrated by Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, Apostolic Nuncio to El Salvador, and head army and police chaplain Monsignor Fabio Colindres at a prison in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador, Monday, March 26, 2012. According to Dionisio Aristides Umanzor, known as El Sirra, leader of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha and the Mara 18, El Salvador's two largest street gangs, have reached a truce, reducing the country's homicide rate, one of the highest in the world. (AP Photo/Luis Romero)

    Luis Romero / AP Photo

    The Central American country plagued by bloodthirsty gangs marked its first day without a murder in three years Saturday. “After years when the number of murders reached alarming levels of up to 18 per day, we saw not one homicide in the country,” said President Carlos Mauricio Funes. The average number of murders has risen in recent years, from 12 a day in 2009 to about 18 a day this year. Violence among the nation’s most powerful gangs, Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha, has been on the decline this year. El Salvador has a murder rate of 66 per 100,000 people, near the top of the world’s list.

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