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Honduran Troops and Police Join Forces to Protect Civilians from M-18 and MS-13

first_imgIn addition to the violent areas in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, Troops and police officers perform joint security patrols in the cities of La Ceiba and Choloma as part of the effort to provide security in all of the country’s major cities. “The timely action taken by the Armed Forces and the National Police has allowed us to neutralize any threat or extension to other neighborhoods or districts,” Commissioner Saucedo said. “The control over these areas has generated confidence in the people so that they are able to stay in their homes. We are doing our best for the sake of the Honduran civil society.” M-18 depends on income from extortion and MS-13 relies heavily on micro-trafficking drugs. A gang can generate illegal profits of up to $2.5 million annually, according to the Gangs in Honduras report issued on November 20, 2015 by the organization Insight Crime. M-18 currently operates in about 150 neighborhoods and districts of Tegucigalpa, while MS-13 is in 70, according to Honduran police intelligence. In San Pedro Sula, M-18 operates in 22 neighborhoods and MS-13 in 11, according to Insight Crime. The M-18 members told the terrified residents they had 48 hours to vacate their homes. “The gang members demanded that they leave their houses along the main street because they wanted to convert it into the border between the territories controlled by Barrio 18 and the rival gang for the sale of drugs and extortion,” said Second Lieutenant Selkin Arita of the Military Police for Public Order (PMOP), the newspaper Prensa Libre reported on March 24th. A week earlier, M-18 gang members gave residents in the Reparto Lempira district, located in San Pedro Sula–Honduras’s second largest city–24 hours to vacate the area or die. “On behalf of Barrio 18 we are giving you 24 hours to vanish from this area. After that, there will be no regrets. You will see lives lost just for opening the door,” the M-18 wrote on a note in the district, according to a report by El Heraldo. By Dialogo April 15, 2016 About 100 members of the Honduran Armed Forces and National Police (PNH) provided security to civilians so they could return to their homes in a district in southern Tegucigalpa after being threatened by the violent Barrio 18 (M-18) gang. “The residents of the Las Torres district were alarmed,” PNH Commissioner Leonel Saucedo told Diálogo. “They left their homes in order to protect themselves. There was an immediate and timely intervention from both the Armed Forces and the National Police, who are maintaining a permanent presence in that district. In the end, this generated confidence among the residents of those neighborhoods.” However, the Armed Forces and PNH arrived on the scene to provide security for those who returned to their homes on March 28th, according to Commissioner Saucedo. Effective Military responsecenter_img “There haven’t been any problems in the districts where the threats were received,” Commissioner Saucedo stated. “We are carrying out joint prevention patrols, motorcycle and vehicle patrols, 24 hours a day. The results of the operations in Las Torres and Reparto Lempira have been successful. The presence and support of the Armed Forces in all aspects of this security work have been invaluable. When necessary, we act as coordinating Military institutions.” The M-18 began threatening residents on March 23rd, when eight gang members armed with high-powered AK-47 rifles and automatic pistols arrived “at 7:30 p.m. [in Las Torres] shooting and shouting that Barrio 18 had arrived, and that they were the new owners of that sector of the capital,” the newspaper La Tribuna reported on March 26th. Gang members entered a residence in the district, also known as El Hoyo, and interrogated the owners, asking them if they worked with the rival gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Law enforcement has made strides protecting the civilian population from M-18 and MS-13, which are responsible for much of the crime in the nation’s urban centers. For example, the 5,148 homicides recorded nationwide in 2015 were 788 fewer than the 5,936 reported in 2014. Last year, authorities documented more than 1,460 homicides in San Pedro Sula and 26 in Reparto Lempira, according to a February 2016 report by the University Institute of Democracy, Peace, and Security of the National Autonomous University of Honduras. The Military and the PMOP immediately deployed personnel to protect civilians from gang members by establishing checkpoints and roadblocks. The security forces sent to Las Torres and Reparto Lempira will be be permanent, according to Commissioner Saucedo. Security patrols The collaboration between the Armed Forces and the National Police in the fight against gangs is increasing confidence levels. “The people, upon seeing professional work that gets results and a greater commitment by the security forces of the state, have more confidence in giving information to the authorities, which allows us to carry out joint actions to arrest the people involved in these criminal organizations,” Commissioner Saucedo explained. “As they continue their joint operations, Troops and police aim to further reduce homicides and the sale and distribution of drugs. The big challenge for 2016 is to reduce the occurrence of extortion, make arrests, and dismantle the criminal organizations.”last_img read more

Black Stars captain Andre Ayew congratulates new GFA President Kurt Okraku

first_imgBlack Stars captain, Andre Ayew, has congratulated the newly-elected President of the Ghana Football Association.In a brief tweet, Andre Ayew said: “Congratulations to our new GFA president Mr Kurt Okraku”Dreams FC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kurt Okraku, has been elected the new President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).Mr Okraku fills the spot vacated by former GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi who resigned in 2018 following damning revelations against him in an exposé by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.Okraku led the way after the first round of voting and was a vote away from becoming the new President of the Association after the second round.He polled 59 votes representing 50% of votes cast with candidates needing at least 60 votes to win.George Afriyie, who polled 40 votes in the first round improved to 43 votes but was still well behind Kurt Okraku.Nana Yaw Amponsah saw his tally slashed from 27 in the first round to 16  in the second.However, as delegates were voting in the third round, George Afriyie conceded, saying he was “a unifier and a team player who works for football.”In the third round, Okraku was endorsed by 93 delegates.Kurt Okraku thus becomes the 7th GFA President since 1992 and the 24th in the Association’s history.Amanda Clinton and George Ankomah both dropped out in the first round with 0 votes.Fred Pappoe also opted to pull out after polling six votes.Kurt Okraku has also received congratulatory messages from the president, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, Parliament’s Minority and football’s world governing body, FIFA.He will now serve a maximum of two four-year terms in office following the adoption of the new statutes GFA at September’s Extraordinary CongressThe statutes were approved with an almost unanimous endorsement from the delegates. What are Kurt’s plans?In his manifesto, dubbed “Game Changer”, Kurt Okraku stated that he intended to work toward changing the fortunes of Ghana football and giving it a new lease of life.The manifesto was premised on four key areas or principles:Transparency, Accountability and Annual Audit;Gender and Equity;Good Corporate Governance;Professionalism, Innovation and Investmentlast_img read more

Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell will try to overcome slow start

first_imgThe images looked comical as the 7-foot-1 Timofey Mozogv has taken 3-pointers at the end of recent practices. But with Lakers coach Luke Walton hoping to incorporate Golden State’s philosophies on the increased use of the 3-point shot, why not?“I need to work on everything,” Mozgov said. “You have to improve your game. Maybe one day they’ll let you shoot.”Apparently, that day has already happened. Mozgov insisted Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw has “a special play for me.” Laughter quickly erupted.“It’s no joke,” Mozgov said. “I’m serious.”So will he take a 3-pointer in a game?“If I’m going to be on the court with the ball, of course I’m going to shoot,” Mozgov said. “I have to. It’s not like I’ll run to the 3-point line and shoot. We have a lot of shooters. We have a lot of work to do. We’re not just shooting 3s.” EL SEGUNDO >> This could have marked the time where D’Angelo Russell would put on a show perhaps as captivating as his summer league play. Maybe he would make another game-winning 3-pointer. Maybe he would throw out enough nifty passes to fill a highlight reel. Maybe he would carry those positive vibes he has felt for Lakers coach Luke Walton and show how that will lift his game.Instead, Russell opened exhibition play against Sacramento on Tuesday collecting nearly as many fouls (three) as points (four) and logging more turnovers (five) than assists (three). The Lakers only beat the Kings, 103-84 because the reserves chipped away at a 13-point half-time deficit.“It was average,” Russell said of his play. “I didn’t have that pace and pep in my step. But it’s all new.”So with the Lakers (1-0) continuing their exhibition schedule against the Denver Nuggets (1-0) on Friday at Staples Center, Russell vowed for a much better encore. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img “It only gets better. The only way we can go is forward,” Russell said. “With the new coaching staff and offense, everything is still new. No matter how times we’ve gone over it, going against different defenders, teams and reads, it’s all new.”Everything seemed even more new to rookie forward Brandon Ingram, whose two points and 0-of-5 clip overshadowed his two rebounds, two blocks and one steal.After experiencing mixed performances and evolving roles his rookie season last year, Russell predicted Ingram’s hiccups will not last long.“It only gets easier,” Russell said. “The more he starts to trust the system and relaxes, I feel like it’ll be easier. He’s going to realize where he can get his shots and what he can get away with this in this league.”Expanding his boundarieslast_img read more