Gangs In Haiti Have Taken Control Of The Capital, Throwing The Country Into Complete Chaos

Haiti is descending into complete anarchy as criminal gangs take over the capital, Port-au-Prince. Here’s how the crisis unfolded in the country:

Gangs In Haiti Have Taken Control Of The Capital, Throwing The Country Into Complete Chaos

Gangs in Haiti have taken control of the capital and forced the prime minister to resign, throwing the country into complete chaos.

Here’s what’s going on.

How Did The Violence Start?

The violence first broke out at the end of February, when prime minister Ariel Henry traveled to Kenya to sign an agreement for Kenya to send troops to help stop gang violence in Haiti.

Gang violence has skyrocketed in Haiti after president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in 2021.

After Moise’s assassination, Henry who had just been appointed as prime minister took over as the president, while also serving as the prime minister.

Under his rule, Haiti spiralled into a state of extreme unrest, with courts and police barely able to function.

In addition, a power vacuum emerged as the country hasn’t held elections since 2016, and Henry indefinitely postponed new elections.

Haiti now has zero elected government officials after the last elected senators’ terms expired in January 2023.

Gangs, which are usually associated with politicians and parties in Haiti, started gaining more autonomy and control over the country, including about 80% of the capital, Port-au-Prince, according to the UN L

How Did The Latest Gang Violence Break Out?

In the early hours of March 3rd, gangs stormed two of Haiti’s biggest prisons, and helped about 4,700 prisoners to escape.

They then attacked police stations, Port-au-Prince’s main port and airport, causing chaos and bringing the city to a standstill.

What Do Gang Leaders Want?

Gang leaders demanded Henry resign and for the international community to stop supporting him as Haiti’s legitimate leader.

In response, the government declared a curfew and a state of emergency until April 3.

Did Their Demands Work?

Henry, who had traveled abroad was unable to return and ended up stranded in Puerto Rico.

He eventually announced on March 11 that he would resign after a transitional government is formed that would eventually lead to new elections.

The Kenyan government, which was supposed to send troops to help stop gang violence, then said that it would pause sending its troops until a new government is announced.

Has The Violence Stopped?

However, the violence has continued since Henry’s announcement.

The main leader of the gangs, Jimmy Chérizier, also known as Barbecue, had previously said the coalition of gangs would reject any solution that is led and supported by the international community.

On Friday March 29, Barbecue said that they would consider laying down their weapons if they are allowed to take part in talks to establish a new government.

His comments come after the UN issued a report calling the situation in Haiti “cataclysmic”.

It said that more than 1,500 people, including many children, had been killed by gang violence in the first 3 months of 2024.

On Monday, March 18, the gunmen attacked two upscale neighborhoods in Haiti’s capital, killing at least twelve people nearby.

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