Gangs target peaceful communities in new round of attacks on Haiti's capital

Armed gangs are launching new attacks in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince, with heavy gunfire echoing across once-peaceful communities near the Haitian capital

Via AP news wire
Wednesday 20 March 2024 17:15 GMT
Haiti Violence
Haiti Violence (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Armed gangs launched new attacks in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince early Wednesday, with heavy gunfire echoing across once-peaceful communities near the Haitian capital.

Associated Press journalists reported seeing at least five bodies in and around the suburbs, and gangs blocked the entrances to some areas.

People in the communities under fire called radio stations pleading for help from Haiti's national police force, which remains understaffed and outmatched by the gangs. Among the communities targeted in the pre-dawn hours were Pétion-Ville, Meyotte, Diègue and Métivier.

The attacks came two days after gangs went on a rampage through the upscale neighborhoods of Laboule and Thomassin in Pétion-Ville, with at least a dozen people killed.

The violence forced the closure of banks, schools and businesses across Pétion-Ville, which until now had been largely spared from the attacks that gangs launched on Feb. 29.

Gunmen have set fire to police stations, forced the closure of Haiti’s main international airport and stormed the country’s two biggest prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates.

Scores of people have been killed and some 17,000 others have been left homeless amid the violence.

Meanwhile, Haitians await the possibility of new leadership as Caribbean officials rush to help form a transitional presidential council that will be responsible for appointing an interim prime minister and a council of ministers.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who was locked out of Haiti when the airports closed, has said he will resign once the council is formed.

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