Police in El Salvador arrested 576 alleged gang members over the weekend, as part of its operations against a rising wave of homicides across the nation.
The National Civil Police (PNC) have alleged leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha gang in charge of selling drugs and ordering homicides, Carlos Mariano Aquino and Franklyn Yohalmo Alvarez have been arrested, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Central American country registered 87 violent deaths last weekend, according to official reports, prompting a state of emergency valid for 30 days from early Sunday morning, which allows both the PNC and the Army to take control of areas where violence has mounted.
President Nayib Bukele has toughened prison conditions, banning prisoners from going outdoors and ordering food rations which allow only two meals per day.
According to Statista, there were a total of 1,114 homicides in the Central American nation last year.
The year 2020 witnessed the largest decrease, almost 45 per cent in comparison to the 2,398 homicides committed in 2019.
In 2016, more than 5,000 people were murdered.