Costa Rica intensifies border control before soccer game with El Salvador

2008-07-29 00:35:49 GMT       2008-07-29 08:35:49 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

SAN JOSE, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Costa Rica's General Management of Migration said Monday it will intensify the entrance controls in the north border of the country, before the possible arrival of 4,000 Salvadorans in the coming days.

Costa Rica will play El Salvador on August 20 in San Jose in a World Cup qualifier towards South Africa 2010.

The International Federation of Associated Football (FIFA) had said the game was "of high risk" for the large amount of people from El Salvador that could come to Costa Rica and because of the Ricardo Saprissa stadium violence background, where the game will take place.

The Costa Rican Soccer Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) said it will only allow the entrance of 500 Salvadoran citizens, the press from El Salvador said at least 4,000 fans will travel to Costa Rica.

Migration Director Mario Zamora told local daily "La Nacion" that a special operative will be set in the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua where most of the fans will enter the country by bus.

Zamora said the greatest concern of the authorities is the possible entrance of members of the so called "maras", violent gangs that prevail in El Salvador and other Central American countries.

"It is of special concern to us everything that is related to the "maras", because they can take advantage of the overcrowding at Penas Blancas border crossing to enter the country," Zamora told the press.

Zamora said there will be a coordination with Salvadoran authorities to keep up with the number of people traveling to Costa Rica prior to the game.

Road travelers should present their passports at the border and will have permission to stay in Costa Rica for 30 days, while air travelers will have to pay a tax of 26 U.S. dollars when leaving the country.

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