Haiti In Crisis: Gangs Take Over, Murders And Rapes Skyrocket

by Tommy Grant

On Monday, armed gangs attempted to take over Haiti’s main international airport, Toussaint Louverture International Airport, sparking a shootout with police and soldiers. This event is part of a surge in violence that includes mass escapes from the country’s two largest prisons. The airport was shut during the attack, and employees were seen fleeing from gunfire. Additionally, Haiti’s police academy faced an attack from an armed gang.

This escalation in violence led to a nighttime curfew imposed by the government. Last week, the airport had also been hit by gunfire, though the gangs did not take control. The deteriorating security situation has drawn concern from the U.N., with spokesperson Stephane Dujarric expressing alarm over gang attacks on critical infrastructure.

Amid this chaos, Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who took office after President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination in 2021, has been traveling internationally without a confirmed return date. His return to the country has been stalled by the inability to return due to the attempted airport takeover. The declaring of the state of emergency and curfew, was instead by the acting prime minister, Finance Minister Patrick Boivert.

The gangs in Haiti, controlling a significant portion of the capital Port-au-Prince, are now targeting high-profile sites such as the Central Bank. The United Nations reports a significant rise in violence, including murders and rapes, with January 2024 being the most violent month in two years.

In response to the unrest, the U.S. Embassy has halted travel to Haiti and urged American citizens to leave. Despite this, many Haitian Americans remain in Haiti, facing difficulties in leaving the country. The U.S. has not committed troops but offers financial and logistical support. The international community, including the UN, highlights the need for urgent action to stabilize Haiti and protect its citizens.

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