Discuss as:

Honduran soldiers deployed to public buses

Orlando Sierra / AFP - Getty Images

An Army soldier stands guard on a bus in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Sept. 28, 2012. Honduras has the world's highest murder rate, at 92 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the United Nations.

Associated Press reports — Honduras' government is assigning soldiers to ride buses in urban areas as a way to free police officers for foot patrols in neighborhoods afflicted by crime and insecurity.

President Porfirio Lobo says there will be at least two soldiers on each bus on 20 routes in the capital and in the city of San Pedro Sula. He says the move is "in response to outcry from various sectors of society."

Officials say the deployment will eventually extend throughout Honduras.

On Tuesday, the government extended a nearly year-old national state of emergency for six months, allowing troop deployments in civilian areas.

The new operation is the second time Honduran soldiers have been placed on public buses, which are frequently targeted by gang members who rob and extort passengers and drivers.

Reuters

A soldier boards a public bus in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Sept. 28.

EPA

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, lower right, attends a ceremony for military members to be deployed on public transport buses in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Sept. 28.

Sign up for the NBCNews.com Photos Newsletter