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Haiti violence: State of emergency following mass jailbreak


Haiti announced a 72-hour state of emergency following an attack by armed gangs on a significant Port-au-Prince prison, resulting in the death of at least 12 individuals and the escape of 4,000 convicts.


Criminal group leaders plan to force Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who is currently abroad, to resign.


Approximately 80% of Port-au-Prince is controlled by the factions aiming to topple him.


Since 2020, the country has suffered a substantial loss of life as a result of violent gang conflicts.


Two correctional facilities, one in the capital city and the other in the adjacent Croix des Bouquets had a series of assaults over the weekend, as reported by a government statement.


The statement said that the acts of "disobedience" were considered to endanger the nation's security. An urgent night-time curfew was implemented at 20:00 local time (1:00 GMT on Monday).


Members of a gang captured in Port-au-Prince were involved in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.


The latest increase in violent incidents began on Thursday, coinciding with the prime minister's visit to Nairobi to discuss the deployment of a multinational security force led by Kenya to Haiti.


Jimmy Chérizier, the leader of the group called "Barbecue," declared an upcoming attack to kill him.


The ex-police officer, who is suspected of committing several atrocities in Port-au-Prince, claims that there is a feeling of solidarity among the armed gangs in both the provincial villages and the metropolis.


The police union of Haiti asked for military support to enhance the central penitentiary institution in the capital city. The property experienced a storm on Saturday night.


Reuters reported that the prison doors were open on Sunday with no signs of guards. As per the report, three detainees who tried to escape were discovered dead in the courtyard.


During a visit to the prison, a correspondent from the AFP news agency witnessed around ten deceased individuals, some of whom showed signs of gunshot wounds.


According to a prison volunteer, 99 criminals, including former Colombian soldiers imprisoned for the assassination of President Moïse, have chosen to remain in their cells out of fear of being killed in the crossfire.


Violence has increased significantly since President Moïse was assassinated at his house in 2021. No successor has been appointed, and no elections have been held since 2016.


Mr Henry was expected to step down by February 7th per a political arrangement. The scheduled elections were not carried out, and he still retains his position.


Since January 2023, Haiti has had no elected government officials since the previous senators' tenure expired.


Claude Joseph, the former interim prime minister during President Moïse's assassination and current leader of the opposition organisation "Those Committed to Development," stated in an interview with the BBC that Haiti is facing a grave and painful scenario.


Mr Joseph stated that PM Henry wished to stay in power for as long as possible.


He agreed to step down on February 7th. He has decided to stay in his job despite the enormous protests nationwide. Unfortunately, these crooks are now using aggressive measures to get him to retire.


The United Nations reported that about 8,400 individuals in Haiti were impacted by gang violence in the past year, including deaths, injuries, and abductions. This statistic exceeds the figures from 2022 by more than double.


The increase in violence, together with the lack of political leadership, has led to a series of rallies against the administration. Demonstrators are intensely demanding the resignation of the prime minister.

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