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  Armed forces
  Armed soldiers claim that weapons give them confidence
  Gun violence:

• Weapons left over from the 12-year civil war has turned El Salvador into one of the most heavily militarised countries in the world.
• During the mid-1990s more people died as a result of gun violence than during the conflict itself.
• At one point the annual gun homicide rate was 140 for every 100,000 people - several hundred times the rate in countries like Japan and the UK.
  El Salvador:
The weapons of war

Eugenio Chicas clearly remembers the looks on the faces of his troops when he issued them with new Kalashnikov rifles. Chicas and his men - members of a guerrilla group called the FMLN - spent several years fighting in the jungles of El Salvador. Their aim was to overthrow the US-backed government.

With limited access to supplies, the guerrillas' morale seemed to lift when fresh munitions arrived. Chicas, then a high ranking field commander, told BBC World Service how his troops stood a little taller when they were given new AK-47s.

"Somehow these new weapons were reassuring to them. The Kalashnikov was the weapon of the revolutionary - it gave them confidence."

Chicas' told how his men loved their AKs. "Even the noise gave them confidence - the Kalashnikov is much louder than the M16. They felt good when they fired it."

The FMLN received their arms secretly from countries like Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam. The weapons were often delivered to the coastlines of Honduras or Nicaragua. The guns were then smuggled by foot or in secret compartments inside trucks.

During the years of the Cold War millions of such weapons poured into Central America, Africa, and South-east Asia, among others, to fuel civil wars. The superpowers or their allies usually supplied them for political reasons.
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