Gang Warfare Turns El Salvador Into Most Violent Nation On Earth

Jan Socher/ Rex Features

If you were planning a little getaway this winter, you might want to steer well clear of El Salvador, which is in the grips of some horrific gang warfare.

The Mirror reports that in the first nine months of 2015, over 5,000 have been murdered in bloody battles between two warring gangs. It’s thought the gangs have a combined membership of over 72,000.

Once hailed for its beautiful sandy beaches and tropical coastline, the Central American country is now considered 90 times more dangerous than the UK. El Salvador has overtaken neighbouring Honduras as the most violent place on the planet, as raging gun crime and street battles kill many of its 6.5million inhabitants.


So far this year, August has been the most violent with 911 people being killed – more than 30 deaths a day. The two gangs – Barrio 18 or Faccion Revolucionarios, and Mara Salvatrucha – have been mercilessly gunning each other down.

Though the capital, San Salvidor, is breathtakingly beautiful and the country pulls in almost £1billion a year just from their clothing exports, the country is still in dire straights. Unfounded rumours have even circulate that Mara Salvatrucha have ties with Al-Queda and other Islamic militant groups.


While authorities struggle to enforce law, the heavily armed gangs roam the streets with impunity. Jails are as dangerous as the streets as they house so many rival gangs vying for control.

El Salvador’s government let the gangs exist under a strict truce that has long since been scrapped, and is powerless to control the gangs. While plans are put in place to offer gang members office jobs, leaving means less money, and almost certain execution.