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El Salvador's murder rate, already highest in the world, continues to rise

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS - JULY 20:  Police patrol the streets of a gang ridden neighborhood on July 20, 2012 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Honduras now has the highest per capita murder rate in the world and its capital city, Tegucigalpa, is plagued by violence, poverty, homelessness and sexual assaults. With an estimated 80% of the cocaine entering the United States now being trans-shipped through Honduras, the violence on the streets is a spillover from the ramped rise in narco-trafficking.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS - JULY 20: Police patrol the streets of a gang ridden neighborhood on July 20, 2012 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Honduras now has the highest per capita murder rate in the world and its capital city, Tegucigalpa, is plagued by violence, poverty, homelessness and sexual assaults. With an estimated 80% of the cocaine entering the United States now being trans-shipped through Honduras, the violence on the streets is a spillover from the ramped rise in narco-trafficking. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)  (2012 Getty Images)

Salvadoran officials say homicides are continuing to rise in El Salvador, which last year had what is believed to be the world's highest rate of violent deaths for any country not in open war.

National Police director Howard Cotto said Wednesday that 1,399 homicides were recorded in January and February, up 118 percent from the same two months last year.

The gang-plagued Central American nation of about 6 million people averaged about 23 homicides a day during that span. Last weekend alone, 50 people were slain.

According to official statistics, at least 6,657 people were killed last year in El Salvador. The country had an overall homicide rate of around 103 per 100,000 inhabitants, El Salvador's highest ever.

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