Dozens dead, Many Injured as Gang Clash in Haiti Rages On
Local authorities have reported that the gang battle that erupted in a violent neighborhood of the capital of Haiti has claimed dozens of lives over the course of four days, marking the most recent eruption of bloodshed as a wave of rising violence that has been sweeping the country.
A clash between members of two competing gangs erupted on Friday, July 8th, according to Jean Hislain Frederick, deputy mayor in the Cite Soleil district of Port-au-Prince, and at least 50 people were killed and more than 50 were injured.
According to local authorities, the fight involved two rival gangs G9 and G-Pep.
G9 is a gang coalition that goes by the name G9 Family and Allies and is commanded by Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer.
The violent G-9 Family and Allies gang, which is a collective of nine gangs, stormed the neighborhood in the middle of the night, sparking the brutal, bloody siege.
The neighborhood serves as a stronghold for the armed gang coalition known as “G-pèp-la.”
The unrest started the day after the first anniversary of President Jovenel Moïse’s murder. Since then, violence in Haiti has increased as gangs fight for territorial control, and the government has found it difficult to crack down on these syndicates.
According to humanitarian organizations and a local official, thousands of Haitians are stranded in Cite Soleil without access to water, food, or other necessities.
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The organization Doctors Without Borders has requested assistance from other humanitarian organizations and pleaded with the gangs “to spare civilians.” In a press release, the organization said three of its members were attending to injured victims in Brooklyn, a section of Cite Soleil.
Joël Janeus, Mayor of Cité Soleil, said on Wednesday, July 13th to CNN, “The situation is critical and it’s getting worse by the day. My team and I counted 52 dead and 110 injured. The gangs have been shooting for nearly a week now, and they still have munitions.”
According to Janeus, who also mentioned that he was hiding, “I am calling for the government to intervene before more people die. Thousands of people are trapped without food and water.”
Mumuza Muhindo, Doctors Without Borders Head of Mission in Haiti, said in a statement, “Along the only road into Brooklyn, we have encountered corpses that are decomposing or being burned. They could be people killed during the clashes or people trying to leave who were shot — it is a real battlefield. It is not possible to estimate how many people have been killed. ”
Long periods of violent instability have plagued Haiti. Following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, his successor, Ariel Henry, promised to strengthen security. However, kidnappings and gang violence are still problems plaguing this Caribbean country.
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Hundreds of protestors rallied against the fuel shortage, which was triggered by the gang’s clash, and demanded that police clear the gang-ridden National Road No. 1 that connects the rural village with the capital in St. Marc, a city just north of Port-au-Prince.
Demonstrators condemned the ongoing killings in the Cité Soleil neighborhood of the capital as well as Haiti’s most recent gang-led terror campaign, which, according to statistics from the Haiti National Police, has resulted in at least 680 recorded kidnappings since January.
Many Haitians have been forced to go days without food or water as authorities struggle to deliver supplies and resources to the areas affected by the gang war. Haitians are continuing to attempt to flee the war-stricken areas of the capital.
The members of the United Nations Security Council met behind closed doors on Wednesday, July 13th to assess the situation in Haiti and held a vote on its future presence in the country on Friday, July 15th. The UNSC announced that they will impose sanctions against gangs in Haiti if the violence against citizens does not stop. They also voted to extend the UN missions to Haiti for another 12 months.