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Latest caravans from El Salvador, Honduras start treks to U.S.

By Renzo Pipoli
Latest caravans from El Salvador, Honduras start treks to U.S.
A new group of Salvadorans started a caravan, the fifth since October, on Wednesday, January 16. They hope to join a larger group of Hondurans that left Monday. Photo by Rodrigo Sura/EPA-EFE

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Two new migrant caravans from Central America are on their way to the U.S.

One collection of 350 people left Wednesday from El Salvador hoping to join another group of some 800 people that left Honduras on Monday.

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Salvadorans from different towns started arriving Tuesday night and met Wednesday morning for a prayer in the Salvador del Mundo square in San Salvador, the nation's capital. Some 350 left at 7 a.m. local time and are the fifth group to depart to the United States in the last three months, a report from El Salvador.com said.

Children and women, but mostly men, walked carrying backpacks, water, medicine and good luck talismans.

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They said they were fleeing conditions of violence and poverty, and are expected to reach a bigger group of Hondurans who left Monday from their country also on their way to the United States, the newspaper reported.

Meantime, the Honduras government-sponsored Copeco, or Permanent Commission for Contingencies, said in a Wednesday statement it regretted a group of 800 people left for the United States despite warnings. It said it is providing assistance to those who were not able to cross the border into Guatemala, as most have already managed to do.

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Some minors who were found in the groups without an accompanying adult were handed to authorities, it added.

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"While the number is significantly below that of a year earlier, we regret that this group of about 800 people are making themselves vulnerable by starting this route. They are vulnerable to activities such as human trafficking, and commercial sexual exploitation, among others," it said.

Mexico-based Televisa reported Wednesday there were no confrontations with security forces as the Hondurans entered into Guatemala.

Thousands of migrants who left Central America last year with the hopes of seeking asylum in the United States are waiting for a possibility to enter the country. Most of them are in temporary shelters in border cities on the Mexican side, while on the U.S. side of the border authorities have deployed the military.

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The migrants are traveling in groups to better protect themselves because in the past criminals have targeted them, knowing they carry all belongings.

A bigger group left Honduras on Oct. 13, arriving to Mexico City in early November and then moving on to the U.S. border.

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