Salvadoran authorities capture gang members accused of mutilating woman

Two Salvadoran gang members, including an ex-boyfriend of the victim, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the slaying and mutilation of a woman in the capital, police said Friday.

Wilber Alfredo Lopez, 18, and Oscar Alexander Bonilla, 23, "were directly involved in the decapitation and mutilation" of 29-year-old Marlyn Elizabeth Reyes, Deputy Police Commissioner Oscar Aguilar said. Bonilla was Reyes' ex-boyfriend, he said.

Both gang members, captured on Thursday, admitted to knowing Reyes, but denied killing her.

Reyes was killed on Sept. 12 in a condominium complex in the south of the city that had been declared uninhabitable. She died from a gunshot to the back of the head, and later Lopez and Bonilla mutilated her using a saw and a machete, Aguilar said. Her body parts were found later in a sewer drain and in the Azelhuate River.

"I can assure you that 75 percent of these incidents are linked to gangs, especially these cases where the victims appear decapitated," Aguilar said.

During the past several days, three other mutilated bodies have been discovered, and also are believed to be the work of gang members.

An estimated 10,000 gang members operate in El Salvador, the majority of them young and belonging to the rival groups Mara Salvatrucha and the Mara 18. The groups have international connections and are linked with drug trafficking, authorities say, AP reported. V.A.

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