August 2, 2015 / 7:59 PM / 2 years ago

Six 'highly dangerous' gang members escape from El Salvador jail

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - Six incarcerated gang members escaped from an El Salvador jail on Sunday after prying open the bars of their cell, security officials said.

The fugitives are members of the lesser-known Mirada Loca gang and are considered “highly dangerous.”

The jail break took place at a facility in the city of San Miguel, 96 miles (154 km) southeast of the capital San Salvador, just a couple days after bus drivers ended a four-day work stoppage following deadly gang violence that forced them off the roads.

Transport in the violent Central American country ground to a halt early last week after threats from a faction of the larger Barrio 18 gang led to shootings that killed nine people, nearly all of them bus drivers, the government said.

Officials said the rival Mara Salvatrucha gang was also involved.

Gang turf wars have helped make El Salvador one of the most dangerous countries in the Americas.

During the first five months of the year, murders in the country jumped 50 percent compared with 2014, with the violence largely blamed on fighting between the gangs.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Editing by Sandra Maler

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