More than a dozen suspected gang members were stoned and burned alive on Monday by residents of a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, according to police and witnesses, the UN alarmed that same day by an insecurity worthy of an “armed conflict”.
This new outburst of deadly violence occurred when the police had just arrested these armed men, in a context of high tension in the Haitian capital.
“During a search of a minibus in which there were armed individuals, the police confiscated weapons and other equipment. In addition, more than a dozen individuals traveling in this vehicle were unfortunately lynched by members of the population,” said the Haitian National Police in a press release.
Police in Haiti did not specify the exact number of victims. She did not detail either under what conditions she had lost custody of these suspects, who were then murdered by the inhabitants of this neighborhood called Canapé-Vert.
But the violence had started before dawn, when gang members broke into several residential areas of the capital, looting homes and attacking local residents, according to witnesses.
“It was the sounds of projectiles that woke us up this morning. It was 3 a.m., the gangs invaded us. There were shots, shots,” a resident of the adjoining district of Turgeau told AFP.
Major humanitarian emergency
“ If the gangs come to invade us, we will defend ourselves, we too have our own weapons, we have our machetes, we will take their weapons, we will not flee,” added another resident, very tense. “Mothers who want to protect their children can send them elsewhere,” he added.
In fact, dozens of families left these neighborhoods caught in the spiral of violence on Monday, AFP journalists noted. Men, women and children fled the scene on foot, carrying a few personal effects in bags or bundles.
At least three other suspected gang members were killed and then burned in the middle of the day, according to photos and videos that have been shared online.
Insecurity in the Haitian capital has reached levels “comparable to those in countries at war”, the UN was alarmed in a report published Monday which highlights a significant increase in homicides and kidnappings in the country.
“The people of Haiti remain in the throes of one of the worst human rights crises in decades and a major humanitarian emergency,” the report by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres describes.
< p>“Due to the high death toll and the growing area of areas controlled by armed gangs, insecurity in the capital has reached levels comparable to those in countries in situations of armed conflict,” he adds. /p>
“More violent” clashes
Between January 1 and March 31, the number of reported homicides increased in the country by 21% compared to in the previous quarter (815 against 673), and the number of kidnappings by 63% (637 against 391).
The armed gangs “continue to dispute the control of the territory in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince, and extend to districts hitherto spared”, also notes the report, describing clashes “more violent and more frequent between gangs, and between police and gangs.
As a result, “the situation of people living in areas controlled by armed gangs remains quite appalling” and “in areas recently targeted by armed gangs”. gangs, the situation is radically deteriorating”.
According to the press release, between April 14 and 19, clashes between rival gangs left nearly 70 people dead, including 18 women and at least two minors.
In this context, the UN Secretary General repeats in the report that “it is urgently necessary to deploy a specialized international armed force” in particular to help the police to restore order.
Antonio Guterres had relayed in October a call for help from Prime Minister Ariel Henry, asking the Security Council to send this force. But without result since: if a few countries have indicated that they are ready to participate, none seem to want to take the lead.