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Face to face with Haiti’s most notorious gang leader

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Face to face with Haiti’s most notorious gang leader

Haiti in Crisis: Gangs Control 80% of Port-au-Prince, UN Estimates

(CNN) — As the violence in Port-au-Prince escalates, photojournalist Giles Clarke witnesses the chaos and danger that has become a daily reality for residents. Gangs, led by notorious leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, control 80% of the city, with frequent clashes and gunfire erupting in the streets.

The recent surge in gang violence, targeting police stations, the international airport, and even the national penitentiary, has pushed Haiti to the brink. The government has declared a state of emergency, citing deteriorating security and increasingly violent criminal acts committed by armed groups, including kidnappings and murders.

Over 300,000 civilians have been forced to flee their homes due to the violence. The situation has overwhelmed hospitals and morgues, with countless individuals suffering from gunshot wounds and bodies left unclaimed, creating a humanitarian crisis.

Cherizier, a former police officer turned gang leader, aims to overthrow Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s government. Despite facing sanctions from the UN and the US Treasury Department for human rights abuses, Cherizier continues to push for change, calling for Henry’s arrest.

Political tensions and rampant gang violence have paralyzed the nation, leaving the government struggling to maintain order. Prime Minister Henry has sought military assistance, with a multinational security force led by Kenya expected to arrive, funded in part by a $200 million contribution from the United States.

As Haiti grapples with the turmoil and uncertainty, international attention and support are crucial in addressing the deep-rooted issues that have plunged the country into crisis.

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