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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 02:32 GMT
Honduras massacre 'leader' held
A bus on which passengers were massacred by gunmen in Honduras
The massacre is believed to have been a warning to government
The alleged head of a notorious gang in Honduras blamed for a massacre of bus passengers before Christmas has been arrested in the US.

Ebert Anibal Rivera, the reputed leader of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, was stopped in Texas earlier this month.

Honduras says it will seek his extradition if the US does not plan to charge him.

Some 28 people were killed on 23 December when gunmen opened fire on the bus in the city of San Pedro Sula.

Six of those killed were children.

Mr Rivera, 29, is accused of masterminding the attack. He is believed to have fled to the US in late December.

Honduras and the US have begun co-operating to try to stop the gang members crossing borders with impunity.

LA gang culture

Honduras said the gangsters meant the bus attack to be a warning to the government over its crackdown on raging gang violence, and to dissuade it from reinstituting the death penalty.

Police have already arrested at least nine people in connection with the attack.

The Mara Salvatrucha is one of a number of Los Angeles-style youth gangs that sprang up in the region after their members were deported from the US in the 1990s.

The founders of the gangs were typically Central American youngsters whose families had fled to the US to escape civil war.

After peace accords were signed, they were sent back to their countries and took the street-gang culture with them.

The Mara Salvatrucha now has an estimated 25,000 members in Honduras, neighbouring El Salvador and other Central American nations.

Nine held over Honduras massacre
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Gang linked to Honduras massacre
24 Dec 04 |  Americas
Guards accused over Honduras fire
18 May 04 |  Americas
Combating El Salvador's gangs
20 Mar 04 |  Americas
Country profile: Honduras
16 Nov 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Honduras
23 Sep 04 |  Country profiles

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