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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 15:09 GMT
Central America bid to curb gangs
Gang members in El Salvador
Maras have been blamed for a wave of killings and robberies
Several Central American countries have signed regional security agreement to help combat organised crime.

The accord is aimed at improving communication between the region's security forces in order to target criminal gangs.

Gangs known as maras are blamed for high levels of violence in the region.

The agreement - signed by Mexico, Guatemala and Belize - is also aimed at fighting arms and drugs trafficking, and international terrorism.

The maras were formed in the early 1980s by Salvadorean immigrants who had fled the civil war and settled in Los Angeles.

They were later joined by Hondurans, Guatemalans and other migrants. Many of them were deported back to their countries when Central America's civil wars ended.

Now Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are struggling to contain the activities of the maras, which are blamed for a wave of killings and robberies across the region.

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