Latin America & Caribbean

El Salvador prison violence kills 14 gang members

A member of the the 18th street gang walks down a hallway in the Quezaltepeque prison in 2012 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Directorate General of Prisons said the killings were presumed to be an "act of purification"

At least 14 gang members have been killed in a prison in the north of El Salvador, authorities have said.

Officials said the bodies of the men, who were all members of the country's notorious Barrio 18 gang, were discovered in two separate locations during a routine inspection of the prison in Quezaltepeque.

The deaths are believed to be the result of an internal feud.

The prison authorities and police have launched an investigation.

El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world, largely as a result of bitter fighting between rival gangs.

On Wednesday, police said there were at least 125 murders in just three days in the country.

The Directorate General of Prisons said on Twitter that the latest violence was "presumed to be an act of purification among gang members".

Last month, Barrio 18 ordered a bus strike and seven bus drivers were killed when they defied the gang.

The group was demanding to be included in a commission examining ways of stemming urban violence - which they are largely responsible for.

President Sanchez Ceren has focused on tackling crime since he took office but the country has faced a sharp increase in violence since 2014.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Police guarded bus stops during the strike last month

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