Notorious rival gang members find a way to coexist inside overpopulated jail cells after Salvadoran president’s crackdown on violence
- Jailed members of the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs are being held together at six different prisons in El Salvador
- Ariel Alexander Ávila Gómez, a member of the Barrio 18, told Noticias Telemundo that rivals had no choice but to befriend each other in the cells
- The gangs are mixed together in an effort to end the relay of signs that were transmitted to order hits outside the jail
- Gang members are kept inside cells with gates that are completely covered
- President Nayib Bukele was slammed in late April after inmates at a prison were forced to kneel together in a yard dressed only in their underwear
- Bukele sought to put an end to gang violence after 85 murders were reported between April 24 and 28
After decades of non-stop fighting, which has forced thousands of innocent residents to flee El Salvador, the Central American nation’s deadliest gangs are now learning how to coexist in prison.
The shocking news comes after President Nayib Bukele was slammed in late April when photos were presented to the press that showed inmates at one prison kneeling next to each other in a yard dressed only in their underwear.
The move came after El Salvador experienced four days of gang violence which contributed to 85 homicides, which were attributed to the leaders of the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs.
Ariel Alexander Ávila Gómez, a member of the Barrio 18 Sureños, told Noticias Telemundo that his group has gotten used to coexisting with jailed members of the MS-13 inside the cells that that now have to share
Notorious rival gang members find a way to coexist inside an overpopulated cell at the Centro Barrios prison in San Salvador, El Salvador. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele cracked down on prisons where gang leaders reportedly transmitted murder hits to members in the outside world
MS-13 and Barrio 18 gang members share a prison cell at a jail in El Salvador
Prison officials were pressed into action by remodeling the cells, tacking a metal sheet onto the cell gates, thus blocking the inmates from communicating by hand signals with other jailed leaders.
As a result, no fights, injuries and killings related to the gangs have been reported over the first two full weeks that followed after the government stepped up its preventive, but criticized, measure, at six prisons.
Barrio-18 Sureños member Ariel Alexander Ávila Gómez told Noticias Telemundo that the rival gangs had no other choice but to learn how to live with its archival.
‘Now we are already living together with the Letters [MS-13] comrades, right?’ said Ávila Gómez from the Ciudad Barrios prison in San Salvador.
Human rights groups bashed El Salvador President Nayib Bukele after his prison officials started grouping rival gang members in the same jail cells
A prison guard shuts down a jail cell door that as late April has been covered with a metal sheet to prevent gang members from relaying signs to other fellow members in other cells who could then transmit them to members on the outside
‘It’s something we may never have thought about long ago, right? But we have been clicking together,’ he added.
Ávila Gómez is one of 44 Barrio Sureños members who share a cell – which has a capacity of 30 people – with 46 members of the vicious MS-13 organization.
All of the cells are represented by two gang members, according to Telemundo.
‘We are trying to live together …’ said Francisco Arturo Quintero, who represents the MS-13 in the cell that is shared with Ávila Gómez’s gang.
‘We did not expect this. It has been a surprise for us to be here, but we have coordinated between both gangs so that everything goes well.’
Centro Barrios prison in San Salvador is one of six jails in El Salvador where rival gang members are being housed in the same cells in a measure to curb violence