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Speaking anonymously for fear of retribution, the school's headteacher welcomed their arrival in her classrooms, recounting how her pupils used to have to take shelter under their desks when gun battles erupted outside.
One of the unit's first tasks upon being deployed to the district last month was to remove the corpse of a man shot 12 times in the head, but Col Raudales said there had been no deaths there since their deployment.
The police were too scared, too ill-equipped, too inefficient and often too complicit in gang crime to venture there.
The young girls play pit-a-pat and the boys charge excitedly after a half-deflated football across a makeshift pitch of caked mud.
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"These areas were in the hands of the gangs," said Col Jose Lopez Raudales, a veteran army commander whose men were given a crash course in policing strategy before their deployment last month.
The maze of shanty homes - where dirt tracks pass for roads and open sewers run along walls daubed with gang graffiti and threats to kill informants - used to be a no-go zone for the security forces.