Crime & Justice

Hundreds of families flee gang violence in Port-au-Prince

Port-au-Prince, Apr 26 (EFE).- Hundreds of Haitian families in recent days have fled the violence among armed gangs in Port-au-Prince and have taken refuge in schools, relatives’ homes or have even taken to living on the streets.

On Clercine Square, in the capital’s Tabarre neighborhood near the US Embassy, dozens of people have gathered, carrying clothing in baskets, backpacks and bags and preparing their meals on the street, your EFE correspondent was able to verify on Tuesday.

Other families have sought refuge in a school in the area, in the Tabarre city hall or in the homes of friends or relatives.

The displaced persons have been fleeing from the clashes between the armed 400 Mawozo group and the rival Chen Mechan gang, who are fighting for control of turf in the Croix-des-Bouquets, Croix-des-Mission, Butte Boyer and Bon Repos districts.

The Haitian National Police reported Tuesday that three alleged members of 400 Mawozo were killed in a shootout with police in Bon Repos.

Among the dead was Efendy, the leader of the gang in the Carrefour St-Marc zone, who had been deemed responsible for murders and armed robberies, according to a police statement.

Since June 2021, the violence between armed groups has forced thousands of people to abandon their homes in the metro zone of Port-au-Prince.

According to the latest United Nations figures, about 16,500 people remain outside their homes due to the violence in the neighborhoods of Bajo Delmas, Martissant and in the central zone of the capital.

About half of the displaced people are living in the homes of friends or relatives and the other half are in camps organized by the local authorities or multilateral organizations, or are living in informal settlements.

Gangs have proliferated in Haiti in recent years as a result of the weakness of the Haitian authorities and they have taken advantage of the chaos arising in the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise last July.

Some gangs control important neighborhoods in the capital’s metro zone, including Martissant, in the southern portion of Port-au-Prince, a situation that has contributed to isolating the city from the southwestern portion of the country.

EFE mp-mm/laa/bp

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