Conflicts & War

Hundreds of Haitians flee gang war

Port-au-Prince, Feb 12 (EFE).- Hundreds of residents of Cite-Soleil, a suburb in the north of Haiti’s capital, were on Monday forced to flee the growing war between gangs that dispute the territory.

For days now, the armed group Chen Mechan, a member of the G9 gang alliance, and Ti Gabriel, of the GPEP alliance, have been fighting to conquer more territory in Port-au-Prince.

In the course of these clashes, at least three people have been killed and several injured, while many houses have been burned, forcing people to take refuge in public squares, where they live in harsh conditions, without basic services such as water, electricity and health care.

For many years, Cite-Soleil has been the scene of intense armed conflicts, which have killed dozens of people, injured numerous and displaced hundreds.

Haiti is experiencing an acute political, economic and social crisis, in addition to extreme violence at the hands of armed gangs that control a large part of Port-au-Prince and other areas and who commit massacres, rapes, kidnappings, attacks and other crimes that have led thousands of people to abandon their homes and become internally displaced or flee the country.

According to the United Nations, last month violence in Haiti grew to levels not seen in more than two years. At least 806 people not involved in gang clashes were killed, injured or kidnapped, while 300 gang members were injured, bringing the total number of people affected to 1,108, more than triple the number in January last year.

In addition, more than 313,000 people are internally displaced in the country, according to data published in January by the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM), of which more than 60 percent had to flee during 2023, illustrating the deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

Thousands of Haitians took to the streets last week to demand the stepping down of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, whose mandate ended on Feb. 7, in accordance with an agreement signed in December 2022 with opposition parties, representatives of civil society and the approval of the international community.

In violent protests last week demanding his ouster, at least six people were killed and more than a dozen injured.

Haiti is awaiting the arrival of the multinational security support mission approved by the UN last October, which will be headed by Kenya and which has not yet materialized. EFE


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