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Tension in Haiti: armed groups attacked the National Penitentiary of Port-au-Prince

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Tension in Haiti: armed groups attacked the National Penitentiary of Port-au-Prince

Tension in Haiti: Armed groups attack National Penitentiary, leading to inmate escape

Armed groups launched a violent attack on the National Penitentiary of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s largest prison, on Saturday night, resulting in the escape of several inmates. Prior to the takeover, there were intense gunfights between the Police and the assailants around the prison.

The French embassy in Haiti confirmed the breach, stating that “bandits have stormed the National Penitentiary of Port-au-Prince and have allowed a certain number of detainees to escape.” Among the prisoners held at the facility are Colombian citizens accused of involvement in the assassination of former Haitian President Jovenel Moise in July 2021, along with gang leaders awaiting trial.

Following the seizure of the prison, concerns have emerged that the armed groups may target the National Palace next, as part of their efforts to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. The night passed without official communications, as attacks on public institutions continued.

Reports suggest that the violent groups aim to strengthen their position before the arrival of a multinational security support mission, led by Kenya. An agreement was signed between Kenya and Haiti in Nairobi to deploy 1,000 police officers from Kenya as part of the mission approved by the UN last October.

The escalation of violence in Haiti has raised concerns, with recent incidents including the killing of four police officers in the capital and the takeover of two police stations by armed gangs. The National Police, with approximately 9,000 agents, struggles to maintain security in the face of powerful gangs that control a significant portion of Port-au-Prince.

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The situation has led to increased displacement of civilians, with people fleeing areas of conflict to seek refuge in makeshift camps. The State University Hospital in the capital has ceased operations due to the ongoing clashes between police forces and armed groups.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who assumed office following the assassination of President Moise, has faced criticism for delaying the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections. Amid the escalating violence, the promise of elections by August 2025 has added to the tensions in Haiti.

The situation remains fluid, with no official updates provided on the latest developments in Haiti. (With information from EFE and The Associated Press)

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