Over ten thousand people have been forced to leave their homes in parts of Haiti’s central department, the United Nations’ migration agency said yesterday, after a series of gang attacks which included inflicting damage on an important regional hospital hospital.
There are no reports of any deaths/
In many gamg-controlled areas there are no supplies of electricity or water, making neighborhoods uninhabitable.
Mostly ineffective police have struggled to contain heavily armed gangs who gained territory and terrorized the population over the past year, and in the capital Port-au-Prince neighborhood gangs have formed alliances, enabling them to control large swathers of the ramshackle city.
Fighting has expanded put of Port au Prince in recent months, now including regions such as Artibonite and the Central Department, reports Reuters News Agency.
Early on Tuesday, armed men attacked the University Hospital of Mirebalais, one of the country’s main health centers. Days earlier, suspected gang members attacked a police station in nearby Saut-d’Eau.
Haiti’s top private healthcare provider Zanmi Lasante issued a statement shared by local media condemning the “brutal attack which violates the moral treaty which considers hospitals as neutral sites, leaving patients and medical personnel deeply traumatized.”
No people were immediately reported killed or injured from the attack, but unverified videos on social media showed chaotic scenes with broken windows and hospital walls riddled with bullet holes.
Violence has spiked since last week, when the leader of the powerful G9 gang alliance Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier said he would overthrow the government by force and called a broader truce of metropolitan area gangs through a new alliance called “Living Together.”
The announcement sparked internal feuds. Late on Tuesday the leader of a G9 alliance gang was killed by other alliance members near Fontaine Hospital in the capital, according to local media reports.
Hospital director Gheriane Ulysse said the government had asked what resources the hospital had at their disposal.
“We’re anticipating the worst,” she said as the hospital braced for counter-attacks from the local gang. “We don’t know what they’re prepared to do in retaliation.”
Last week, Cherizier expressed support for a canal in Northern Haitt that draws water from the Massacre River that forms the border with the Dominican Republic. Its construction prompted Haiti’s neighbor to completely shut down its border, driving Haitian migrants back into areas of conflict and calling into question access to humanitarian aid.
Meanwhile, the Kenyan government has said it will deploy a police force to Haiti by January 2024, aiming to quell the ongoing gang warfare and restore order, accroding to BBC reports.
During an interview with the BBC’s Waihiga Mwaura, Kenya’s foreign affairs minister Alfred Mutua says will send an intervention force to disarm gangs and bring relief to victims of violence.
Sources: Reuters, Star, BBC, news agencies.