State Of Emergency Declared After Mass Jailbreak Ini Haiti


(MENAFN- Colombo Gazette) Haiti has declared a 72-hour state of emergency and night curfew in and around the capital because of two jailbreaks and spiralling insecurity.

At the weekend, armed gangs stormed a major Port-au-Prince prison, leading to the killing of at least 12 people and release of around 4,000 inmates.

Gang leaders say they want to force the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who is outside the country.

The groups aiming to oust him control around 80% of Port-au-Prince.

A government statement said two prisons – one in the capital and the other in nearby Croix des Bouquets – were stormed over the weekend.

Among those detained in Port-au-Prince were gang members charged in connection with the 2021 killing of President Jovenel Moïse.

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 Jimmy Chérizier (nicknamed“Barbecue”) declared a co-ordinated attack to remove him.

“All of us, the armed groups in the provincial towns and the armed groups in the capital, are united,” said the former police officer, who is thought to be behind several massacres in Port-au-Prince.

Haiti's police union had asked the military to help reinforce the capital's main prison, but the compound was stormed late on Saturday.

On Sunday the doors of the prison were still open and there were no signs of officers, Reuters news agency reported. Three inmates who tried to flee lay dead in the courtyard, the report said.

One volunteer prison worker told the Reuters news agency that 99 prisoners – including former Colombian soldiers jailed over President Moïse's murder – had chosen to remain in their cells for fear of being killed in crossfire.

Violence has been rife since President Moïse's assassination. He has not been replaced and elections have not been held since 2016.

Under a political deal, elections were to be held and the unelected Mr Henry was due to stand down by 7 February, but that did not happen.

In January, the UN said more than 8,400 people were victims of Haiti's gang violence last year , including killings, injuries and kidnappings – more than double the numbers seen in 2022. (BBC)

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