TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Honduras' two largest and most-violent gangs will sign a truce next week and ask for a dialogue with the government and police to help them start leaving their gang lifestyle, a Roman Catholic bishop said Friday.
San Pedro Sula's bishop, Romulo Emiliani, told The Associated Press that the Mara Salavatrucha and 18th Street gangs will begin their truce on Tuesday.
"The government has been informed and it should be the next to join the dialogue," according to Emiliani, who said he has been mediating with gang members for a long time.
He said the gangs need government help to stop charging protection fees to finance their war with each other and that authorities should try to turn the country's prisons into rehabilitation centers. The gangs will issue a public apology.
Honduras is following the example of El Salvador, where leaders of the same gangs agreed last year to a truce that sharply lowered the number of violent deaths. According to reports from public security authorities, during the 14-month truce homicides have dropped about 52 percent.
Adam Blackwell, Ambassador for Security Affairs of the Organization of American States, said the dialogue with the Honduran gangs started eight months ago, when he and Emiliani visited prisons in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa and met with members of both groups.