4,000 inmates freed in mass jailbreak by gangs

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Haiti’s Main Prison Attacked by Armed Gangs

Burning barricade during protest

Port-au-Prince has descended into violence in recent days.

Prison Break: Gangs Storm Main Prison

Armed gangs have stormed the main prison in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, releasing many inmates. The vast majority of about 4,000 men held there have now escaped. Among those detained were gang members charged in connection with the 2021 killing of President Jovenel Moïse.

Violence Escalates in Haiti

Violence in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has worsened in recent years. Gangs aiming to oust PM Ariel Henry control 80% of Port-au-Prince. The latest upsurge in violence began on Thursday when the prime minister travelled to Nairobi to discuss sending a Kenyan-led multinational security force to Haiti.

Gang Leader Declares Coordinated Attack

Gang leader Jimmy Chérizier (nicknamed “Barbecue”) declared a coordinated attack to remove PM Ariel Henry. “All of us, the armed groups in the provincial towns and the armed groups in the capital, are united,” said the former police officer.

Prison Break Fallout

  • A wave of shootings left four police officers dead and five injured.
  • The French embassy in Haiti advised against travel in and around the capital.
  • Haiti’s police union asked the military to help reinforce the prison, but the compound was stormed late on Saturday.
  • One volunteer prison worker reported that 99 prisoners, including former Colombian soldiers jailed over President Moïse’s murder, chose to remain in their cells for fear of being killed in crossfire.

Political Unrest and Violence

Violence has been rife since President Moïse’s assassination. Elections have not been held since 2016. In January, the UN reported that more than 8,400 people were victims of Haiti’s gang violence last year, more than double the numbers seen in 2022.

Read More of this Story at www.bbc.com – 2024-03-03 21:47:54

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