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Caribbean leaders call emergency meeting as gangs attack police stations


After gangs attack three Port-au-Prince police stations, national palace guards form a security ring.

Following gangs' massive attacks on at least three police stations, police and palace guards in Haiti's capital worked to retake some streets on Saturday.

After police repelled a gang attack late Friday, National Palace guards attempted to erect an armoured truck and form a security perimeter around one of the three downtown stations.

There were still reports of sporadic gunfire on Saturday.

The nation has been paralysing due to the relentless gang attacks for over a week, and its supplies of necessities are running low. As gangs continued to attack essential state institutions, Haitian officials decided to extend the state of emergency and the nightly curfew on Thursday.

Acting president and prime minister Ariel Henry was not able to return to Port-au-Prince after the gang violence started on February 29 because he was in Kenya. Armed gangs are attempting to remove him, and the US called on him earlier this week to accelerate a political transition.

Leaders from the Caribbean called an emergency meeting for Monday in Jamaica due to Haiti's "dire" situation late on Friday. The UN, Brazil, France, Canada, and the United States have all been invited to the meeting.

For months, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) regional trade bloc has been attempting to persuade Haiti's political players to accept the formation of a transitional unity government under an umbrella organisation.

The violent street fighting has driven many Haitians from their homes, and they are currently taking sanctuary in government buildings.

Attempts to mediate a resolution have yet to succeed. "The situation on the ground remains dire," according to a statement released late Friday by Caricom, the 15-nation Caribbean bloc.

According to a Caricom statement, "the stakeholders are not yet where they need to be", even though regional leaders are actively working to unite opposition parties and civil society organisations to form a unity government.

The statement said, "We are acutely aware of the urgent need for consensus to be reached." "We have made a strong impression on the concerned parties that they do not have enough time to approve the course of action."

Henry agreed in February to hold general elections by the middle of 2025. Since then, the international community has looked for a foreign armed force that would be willing to combat gang violence in that country.

In the interim, Caricom has also urged Henry to declare a consensus government based on power sharing; however, the prime minister has yet to do so despite calls for his resignation from civil society organisations and opposition parties in Haiti.

The State Department announced on Saturday that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Kenyan President William Ruto discussed the Haiti crisis and emphasised their commitment to a multinational security mission to restore order. Although Kenya declared it would command the force last year, months of internal legal disputes have put the mission on hold.

Henry went to Kenya to advocate for the UN-backed transfer of an East African police force to combat gang activity in Haiti. However, in January, a Kenyan court declared that such a deployment would violate the constitution.

Henry is still unable to return home. He failed to land in the Dominican Republic, which borders Haiti and arrived in Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

According to a statement released on Saturday by President Luis Abinader's office, "Henry is not welcome in the Dominican Republic for safety reasons." Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which live together on the island of Hispaniola, have closed their land border.

According to the statement, the safety and stability of the Dominican Republic are directly threatened by the "totally unsustainable" security situation in Haiti.

"The situation could deteriorate even further if a peacekeeping force is not implemented urgently to restore order," according to the statement.

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