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The Engineer, Documentary About the Man Unearthing the Dead in El Salvador's Gang Wars

Pandillas

Symbolic weapon handover from the gangs to Monsignor Colindres and Raúl Mijango. Photo on Flickr by user Departamento de Seguridad Pública OEA (CC BY-ND 2.0).

The documentary “The engineer” tells the story of the man that unearths the dead in El Salvador's gang wars. Israel Ticas has been trained as a civil engineer, and as forensic criminologist, every day brings with it the promise of new bodies, victims of a remorseless Salvadoran gang culture, dumped in disused wells or buried in the thicket of inaccessible woodland.

This has made him a target for the pandilleros, whose ugly deeds he unearths. “He's sticking his nose in where it doesn't belong”, comments one member of 18 Street. In spite of the risks, however, and not for want of a way out, Israel Tocas carries on. “When you think of the 20 mothers waiting for the bodies down there, that's when you get motivated”.

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