Haitian Police Report: City Center “at War,” Gangs Overwhelmed, 4 Officers Killed

Four cops were slain as gang members launched a coordinated series of violent attacks on Haitian police throughout the city, a national police spokesperson said on Friday. As schools and businesses closed on Thursday, people in dozens of neighborhoods fled in panic as gunmen took control of two police stations and opened fire on targets, including Haiti’s international airport. Spokesman Garry Desrosiers remarked, “The situation yesterday was horrible,” in a Radio Caraibes interview. “The city center was at war.

 

The attacks were attributed to Jimmy Cherizier, a former elite police officer known as Barbecue who is currently in charge of the gang federations G9 and Family and Allies. According to him, the goal was to apprehend the prime minister of Haiti, Ariel Henry, as well as government ministers. Henry had been in Kenya advocating for the deployment of police from East Africa, which was approved by the UN, to combat gang activity in Haiti. During the attacks on Thursday, neither the government ministers nor the police head were hurt or taken into custody.

 

The majority of Port-au-Prince was still calm as people hesitantly went back to their daily lives as of late Friday morning. The main international airport reopened, but by Friday afternoon, all official travel to the airport was being temporarily suspended by the U.S. Embassy due to reports of heavy gunfire in the area. Meanwhile, most businesses and schools remained closed, leaving the downtown part of the capital mainly empty. The young officers fought “to guarantee the security of the population,” according to Desrosiers, who also added that the authorities were unable to get to the station in time to stop the attack. He stated that in addition to obstacles that were still in place on Friday in numerous localities, making it difficult for police to respond to attacks, they faced a shortage of resources and tools on Thursday to effectively combat the gangs.

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