The truce among gangs begun almost two years ago in El Salvador to reduce murders "technically exists no more," national police chief Rigoberto Pleites said Monday.

Police consider the pact dead because of the increase in murders in the first months of 2014, he told reporters.

Between Jan. 1 and March 2 there have been at least 501 homicides, 106 more than the 395 registered during the same period in 2013, Pleites said.

The increase shows that "obviously ... there is already a rupture of that (truce) accord," which was begun on March 9, 2012, by the main gangs operating in the country, the Mara Salvatrucha and Pandilla 18, and which other groups later joined.

Pleites emphasized that eight people were killed on Sunday, of whom six were "gang members, three from Padilla 18 and three from the MS."

"It is evident that there are also attacks by elements that have nothing to do with ... (the gangs), whether it be because they don't pay them the 'renta' ... or due to another situation, but those cases are few. In reality more than 70 percent (of the murders) continue to be a rivalry among them," he emphasized.

The "renta" is the protection money that gang members or criminal groups demand from businessmen.

Last year, there were 2,492 murders registered in El Salvador, 102 fewer than during 2012, according to figures from the medical examiner's office. EFE