UN worries about upsurge in gang violence in Haiti

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The United Nations office in Haiti (Binuh) on Wednesday expressed concern at the upsurge in gang-related insecurity which is causing the death of many innocent victims, and called on the authorities to arrest the gang leaders.

• Read also: “The bandits control the territory”

“The population of neighborhoods controlled by armed gangs endure an intolerable level of violence: between January and June 2020, Binuh documented that at least 159 people were killed and 92 others injured – including children, due to the gang-related violence, ”the UN representation said in a press release.

Since the beginning of the summer, clashes between rival gangs have caused the death of several inhabitants of the metropolitan area of ​​Port-au-Prince, notably in Cité Soleil. And the main roads of the province are regularly blocked by armed bands who hold passengers to ransom and divert goods.

Carried out three weeks apart, in mid-July and early August, the shooting murders of two infants, aged eight and four months, had aroused great emotion among the population, but no reaction from the national authorities or the government. ‘UN until Wednesday.

At the end of June and beginning of July, two peaceful demonstrations organized in the capital to denounce this climate of insecurity had been forcefully repressed by the police.

Gang members then marched through the streets of downtown, displaying their guns and firing regularly in the air.

No police unit had intervened to interrupt this march, broadcast live on social networks by some participants.

In its press release, Binuh encourages “the Haitian authorities to prosecute the alleged perpetrators of crimes, abuses or violations of human rights and to execute the warrant issued against several gang leaders. , in particular Jimmy Cherizier, alias “Barbecue” ”.

A former police officer, this gang leader is said to be involved in several attacks and fires perpetrated since November 2017 in poor neighborhoods.

While it has been the subject of a wanted notice since February 2019, “Barbecue” was filmed in early April supervising a distribution of food kits, organized by the national police in the Haitian capital.

Like civil society organizations, the senior official serving as “citizen protector” in Haiti denounces the impunity favored by the state.

“The bandits are protected by certain political authorities, by certain central power authorities, while the population is taken hostage, abandoned to itself,” Renan Hedouville lamented in early August to AFP.

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