The Americas

El Salvador: At least 30 slain in bloody 24-hour span

  • A woman walks past a wooden tray stained with human blood near the scene where a shootout between private security guards and gang members took place, at the central market in San Salvador, El Salvador, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. At least 30 people, mostly gang members, died in the last 24 hours in El Salvador on one of the most violent days so far this year. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

    A woman walks past a wooden tray stained with human blood near the scene where a shootout between private security guards and gang members took place, at the central market in San Salvador, El Salvador, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. At least 30 people, mostly gang members, died in the last 24 hours in El Salvador on one of the most violent days so far this year. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Police investigators carry a body to a forensic vehicle, after a shootout between private security guards and gang members, at the central market in San Salvador, El Salvador, Wednesday, March 15, 2017.  At least 30 people, mostly gang members, died in the last 24 hours in El Salvador on one of the most violent days so far this year. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

    Police investigators carry a body to a forensic vehicle, after a shootout between private security guards and gang members, at the central market in San Salvador, El Salvador, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. At least 30 people, mostly gang members, died in the last 24 hours in El Salvador on one of the most violent days so far this year. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)  (The Associated Press)

  • A forensic workers checks the body of a victim of a shootout between private security guards and gang members, at the central market in San Salvador, El Salvador, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. At least 30 people, mostly gang members, died in the last 24 hours in El Salvador on one of the most violent days so far this year. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

    A forensic workers checks the body of a victim of a shootout between private security guards and gang members, at the central market in San Salvador, El Salvador, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. At least 30 people, mostly gang members, died in the last 24 hours in El Salvador on one of the most violent days so far this year. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)  (The Associated Press)

Authorities in El Salvador say at least 30 people, most of them gang members, have been killed in one of the Central American nation's bloodiest 24-hour spans this year.

The wave of violence includes a shootout between gangsters and private security guards that killed six in the capital Wednesday.

Gang members also shot dead three women and then ran into a firefight with police, resulting in six suspected criminals killed.

National Civil Police Commissioner Howard Cotto said Thursday that at least 17 of the 30 people slain nationwide are suspected gang members.

Justice Minister Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde told local radio that the country's insecurity problem is "complicated and difficult."

El Salvador has posted some of the highest homicide rates in the world in recent years amid raging gang violence.