Home » Gang crime in Haiti – Gangs control most of the Haitian capital – News

Gang crime in Haiti – Gangs control most of the Haitian capital – News

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Gang crime in Haiti – Gangs control most of the Haitian capital – News
  • According to local media, armed gangs control around 80 percent of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.
  • The national prison in the capital had previously been stormed, with most of the prisoners escaping.

After armed groups stormed the national prison in Port-au-Prince in the Caribbean state of Haiti and freed most of the approximately 3,600 prisoners, they now control around 80 percent of the capital. This is reported by local media. In view of the escalating situation, the government has declared a 72-hour state of emergency. In addition, a night-time curfew is intended to help the authorities “bring the situation back under control”.

Legend: Police and soldiers fight with armed gangs on the area of ​​the international airport in Haiti’s capital – between passers-by. Keystone/AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph

“Public life has been paralyzed to such an extent,” says Esther Belliger, who is responsible for Latin America and Haiti at the Swiss aid organization Helvetas, to SRF News. “The situation – and not just since yesterday – has absolutely escalated and the violence has become uncontrollable.”

The situation has absolutely escalated and the violence has become uncontrollable.

Gang members would attack police stations and try to take control of the international airport, an aid agency official told the BBC. The airport was closed shortly after the fighting began. The gang leaders demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Henry’s whereabouts are currently unknown.

The violence is primarily concentrated in the capital.

Outside the capital, especially in the south of the country, where Helvetas operates, things are relatively quiet, says Esther Belliger. “The violence is primarily concentrated in the capital.”

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Violence is nothing new in Haiti; the president was assassinated two years ago. According to Belliger, the latest escalation was caused by the public’s frustration with Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s failure: “He failed to put a stop to the unrest.” These have increased significantly in the last two years. “Henry promised elections a long time ago, but canceled them again because of the escalating violence.”

People’s everyday lives are unimaginable, says Belliger. Those who can leave the country – especially the well-educated people. There is, for example, the possibility of applying for a visa for the USA. “Those who stay there live in constant danger,” says Esther Belliger, be it on the way to work or shopping. “The situation is extremely precarious.”

Neighboring states are arming themselves

In the neighboring Dominican Republic, President Luis Abinader inspected border security facilities in response to the escalation in Haiti and said he would not allow refugee accommodation for people from Haiti on Dominican territory. The Brazilian government called for a multinational force to be sent to Haiti, and the Bahamas said almost all embassy staff had been recalled. Meanwhile, the USA called on its citizens to leave Haiti as quickly as possible.

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