Honduran Deputy Police Chief Gunned Down

March 3, 2006

TEGUCIGALPA – Jorge Alberto Escobar, deputy chief of the police ballistics unit for northwestern Honduras, was gunned down in the northern town of San Manuel Cortes, officials said Sunday.

A spokesman for the government’s criminal investigations agency said the 35-year-old Escobar and a friend, Fernando Gómez, were shot to death late last week.

The bodies of the victims were found Saturday in a sugarcane field in San Manuel Cortes.

The coroner’s office said the two men were killed March 24 in the same place where their bodies were found.

Officials said they suspected the two were killed by members of the gangs because Escobar had a confrontation with a gang member some time ago while defending another person.

“Escobar got death threats in connection with that case,” the investigator said. Investigators are also looking into the background of Gómez, who was carrying more than $2,300 that were not taken by the killers.

Honduras is dealing with a wave of violence that has already left at least 407 people dead this year.

Honduran President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, a centrist who took office last month, is seeking dialogue with the gangs while vowing he will not tolerate further violence.

The President said during a conference earlier this month that poverty – which affects 80% of Hondurans – and lack of access to education and basic services contributes toward driving youths into the arms of gangs “associated with drugs and organized crime.”

 

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