Why Did Armed Group Attack Honduras Security Force Spokesman?

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An armed attack directed at the spokesperson for Honduras’ inter-institutional security force Fusina indicates either he or the force have made enemies of a criminal group, but the reason why remains unclear. 

On September 27, the spokesman for the National Inter-Institutional Security Force (known as Fusina) for the city of San Pedro Sula was attacked while in his home in capital city Tegucigalpa, reported La Prensa.

According to military police, at least 20 armed men arrived in the neighborhood of Lieutenant Jose Antonio Coello around 10 pm and went door-to-door pretending to be police, reported El Heraldo. When they reached Coello’s house, some of the men cordoned off the area while others opened fire, leaving the house pockmarked with at least 20 bullet holes. Neither Coello nor his family members were injured in the attack.

According to El Heraldo, authorities are investigating the incident to determine if it may have been related to Coello’s role as a spokesperson in San Pedro Sula or Fusina’s efforts to combat organized crime in Tegucigalpa. La Prensa indicated that the attack may have been in retaliation for the recent capture of a gang leader in the capital.

InSight Crime Analysis

Fusina — which is comprised of police, military personnel, and intelligence agencies — has dealt serious blows to organized crime, creating powerful enemies in the process. And the attack may be part of a larger offensive against security officials in San Pedro Sula, where armed assailants recently tried to kill the son of a police commissioner in broad daylight.

Still, little is known about Coello, and security officers in Honduras are targeted as much for their fight against crime as for their complicity with it. 

Whatever the case, it does appear that Fusina has seen significant success since its creation in February. Honduras’ armed forces reported on September 26 that to date Fusina had seized 13 tons of cocaine. If accurate, this represents an enormous increase from 2013, when the country confiscated only 1.7 tons. The body has also carried out some 1,538 arrests

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

Honduras as a whole also appears to be toughening its stance against drug trafficking, targeting powerful criminal groups that previously operated with impunity. In the past year, the country has seized more than $500 million in assets from transport group the Cachiros, extradited the first Honduran citizen to the United States in over a century, confiscated 17 properties from the family of convicted drug trafficker Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros, and seized 52 properties from the Valle Valle criminal clan

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