Monday, April 15, 2024

Gangs Unleash Terror on Haiti’s Affluent Neighborhoods, Leaving Over a Dozen Dead: Pictures

HomeWARGangs Unleash Terror on Haiti's Affluent Neighborhoods, Leaving Over a Dozen Dead:...

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Residents in some of Haiti’s wealthiest neighborhoods awoke Monday to shocking scenes of violence after gangs rampaged through the upscale areas overnight, leaving over a dozen casualties in their wake.

The brutal attacks targeted the affluent Port-au-Prince communities of Laboule and Thomassin in the early hours before sunrise. Heavily armed gang members looted homes and businesses, forcing families to flee as gunfire echoed through the streets. Despite a recent surge in gang warfare across the capital, these elite enclaves had remained relatively untouched until now.

Gangs Unleash Terror on Haiti's Affluent Neighborhoods, Leaving Over a Dozen Dead

“We woke up to find bodies lying in the street in our Pétionville community,” said Douce Titi, an official at the mayor’s office, referring to the neighboring area below Laboule and Thomassin. “Ours is not that kind of neighborhood. We’re working quickly to remove the victims before children head to school and vendors arrive.”

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However, for some it was already too late. An Associated Press photographer witnessed at least 12 men’s bodies strewn across Pétionville’s roads, their killings leaving behind harrowing scenes. One victim was face-up surrounded by scattered playing cards, while another lay face-down inside a “tap-tap” truck used for public transportation.

Gangs Unleash Terror on Haiti's Affluent Neighborhoods, Leaving Over a Dozen Dead

The shocking violence proved too much for some onlookers. A woman collapsed from anguish after learning a victim was her relative. A man cried out in despair, “Abuse! This is abuse! People of Haiti, wake up!” Young children were also exposed to the carnage, with one boy held tightly by an adult relative, his face turned away from the grisliness.

As crowds gathered around the dead, an ambulance eventually arrived to collect the bodies. But the attacks raised grave concerns that peace remains elusive despite Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s vow last week to resign once a transitional presidential council is established — a key demand from the powerful gangs.

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Monday’s assaults suggest the criminal groups have no intention of relenting. They have long been opponents of Henry’s leadership, accusing the unelected prime minister of worsening Haiti’s desperate poverty. Henry’s critics, however, claim the gangs are merely vying for their own self-interests or those of unnamed politicians.

Gangs Unleash Terror on Haiti's Affluent Neighborhoods, Leaving Over a Dozen Dead

The unrest also disrupted basic services, with Haiti’s electricity company reporting that four substations were sabotaged by “criminals” who stole cables, batteries and other equipment. As a result, large swaths of Port-au-Prince – including the impoverished Cité Soleil slum and a hospital – had no power amid the chaos.

In a bid to curb the escalating brutality, Haitian authorities extended an existing nighttime curfew through March 20th. But bringing a return to stability remains an immense challenge.

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While Caribbean leaders assist in establishing the transitional council that Henry promised, the deployment of a United Nations-backed Kenyan police force to combat the gangs has stalled. Kenya says it will wait until the council is in place before sending reinforcements.

With rampant gang warfare continuing to plague the capital and its surrounding areas – now encroaching into even the most affluent neighborhoods – resolving the crisis appears increasingly difficult. As the death toll mounts, innocent Haitians are the ones paying the ultimate price for the unchecked violence and lingering political power struggle.

The events of this week represent a new, brazen front in the gangs’ reign of terror. No area, not even the wealthiest parts of Port-au-Prince, seems safe from the bloody turmoil threatening to tear this fragile nation apart.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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