Haiti in state of emergency as gangs overtake prisons, PM struggles to get UN peacekeepers

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Haiti in state of emergency as gangs overtake prisons, PM struggles to get UN peacekeepers:- Haiti’s Port-au-Prince Late Sunday night, Haiti’s government announced a state of emergency and a curfew for the night to try to get back control of the streets after armed gang members broke into the country’s two largest prisons over the weekend, causing a lot of violence.

Haiti in state of emergency as gangs overtake prisons, PM struggles to get UN peacekeepers

The government said it would be looking for the killers, kidnappers, and other violent criminals that it said got out of jail, so a 72-hour state of emergency was put in place right away.

“The police were told to use all legal means at their disposal to enforce the curfew and catch all offenders,” acting prime minister and finance minister Patrick Boivert said in a statement.

Last week, Prime Minister Ariel Henry went abroad to try to get support for bringing in a security team backed by the UN to help keep the country stable while it fights crime groups that are getting stronger.

Thousands of inmates fled during jailbreak

The order came at the end of a violent weekend that hit a new low in the violence in Haiti. Four of the nine people killed since Thursday were police officers. This is because gangs in Port-au-Prince have been working together to hit government buildings more often. Police offices, the country’s main airport, and even the national football stadium were all targets.

But the siege of the National Penitentiary on Saturday night was a surprise even to Haitians who are used to living in a dangerous place all the time. During the jailbreak, most of the 4,000 or so inmates got away, leaving the usually overcrowded facility eerily empty on Sunday. There were no guards in sight, and plastic sandals, clothes, and furniture were strewn across the concrete patio. Three bodies that had been shot were lying at the door to the prison.

In another neighbourhood, people walked past roadblocks made of burning tyres and saw the face-down bodies of two men whose hands were tied behind their backs and were badly burned.

Colombian soldiers remain in Haiti prison

18 former Colombian soldiers are among the few dozen people who decided to stay in prison. They are accused of working as mercenaries to kill Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021.During the fighting on Saturday night, some Colombians posted a video begging for their lives..

“Please, please help us,” one of the guys, Francisco Uribe, said in the message that got a lot of attention on social media. “They are killing anyone in the cells without any thought.”

Uribe told reporters who walked into the usually heavily guarded building on Sunday, “I didn’t run away because I’m innocent.”

The men were asked for “special protection” by Haiti by Colombia’s foreign minister.

Because there was no official word, family members of prisoners went to the prison to see how their loved ones were doing.

Alexandre Jean said as she looked for signs of her son in the cells, “I don’t know if he is alive or not.” “I have no idea what to do.”

Several neighbourhoods reported hearing gunshots on Saturday night, so the violence seemed to be happening all over.

Haiti in state of emergency as gangs overtake prisons, PM struggles to get UN peacekeepers
Haiti in state of emergency as gangs overtake prisons, PM struggles to get UN peacekeepers


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Second Port-au-Prince prison overtaken by gangs

A second jail in Port-au-Prince with about 1,400 prisoners was also taken over. The country’s best soccer field was also broken into and gang members were holding a worker hostage for hours, according to a statement from Haiti’s soccer federation. A fibre optic cable link was cut during the rampage, which meant that many people couldn’t connect to the internet.

In less than two weeks, the gangs have struck several state institutions. They are becoming more coordinated and picking targets like the Central Bank that would have been unthinkable before. On Thursday, four police officers were killed in strikes planned by gangs.

U.S. Embassy in Haiti halts travel to country

Gangs opened fire at Haiti’s international airport last week. As a result, the U.S. Embassy said it would no longer allow any official travel to the country and on Sunday night told all American citizens to leave as soon as possible. It was also said by the embassy that all consular meetings would be cancelled until Thursday.

The Biden administration has refused to send troops to any multinational group but has offered money and help with logistics instead. They said they were very worried about how quickly the security situation was getting worse.

A member of the National Security Council said that violence kills thousands of people and slows down the shift to democracy. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said again that the U.S. backs elections, inclusive government, and the return of democracy.

The scene of the most recent fighting On Saturday night, several gang bosses were being held at Haiti’s National Penitentiary. While shots were being fired, cops called for help.

A group for police officers said, “They need help,” in a social media post with eight times of the “SOS” emoji. “Let’s get the army and police ready to stop the thieves from getting into the prison.”

The fighting happened after more violent protests in the past few days. This happened while the prime minister was in Kenya trying to move forward with a plan for an East African country to lead a U.N.-backed security force in Haiti.

Henry became prime minister after Moise was killed, but he has kept putting off plans to hold polls for parliament and president, which haven’t happened in almost ten years.

The United Nations says that Haiti’s National Police protect more than 11 million people. They have about 9,000 troops. Gangs, which are thought to rule up to 80% of Port-au-Prince, regularly beat them and have more weapons than them.

A man named Jimmy Chérizier, who used to be a top police officer and now runs a gang federation, says he is behind the rise in attacks.He said they wanted to catch Haiti’s police chief and government officials and stop Henry from coming back..

There have been calls for the prime minister, a doctor, to step down, but he hasn’t said anything when asked if he thought it was safe to go home.

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