By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) - 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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