Army Holds Haiti’s Main Airport As Gangs Fail To Take Over While Acting PM Remains Outside Country.

Photo: Haiti's main airport shown when it was still open to passengers.
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Armed gangs attempted to seize control of Haiti‘s main international airport on Monday as chaos continues to grip the Caribbean nation, reports ABC News, citing local sources.

The gangs are thought to be hoping to arrest acting Prime Minister Henry, who is believed to remain outside the country after a recent visit to Kenya.

A Haitian law enforcement source who was at the scene told ABC News that an estimated several dozen gunmen from gangs breached the perimeter wall of the Toussaint Louverture International Airport on the outskirts of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

The assailants exchanged gunfire with Haitian police and soldiers as they tried to reach the airport’s main buildings to take over the facility, but were ultimately stopped before doing so, the source said.

At least one Haitian police officer was wounded and later died at a nearby hospital, according to a Haitian police source. An unknown number of attackers were also injured or killed.

The airport was closed at the time of the attack and no passengers were present nor were any planes in use, but staff members there were forced to hide.

No planes will be permitted to land there for several more days, and all U.S. airline flights have been cancelled since Monday

A Haitian police station near the airport was also destroyed on Monday, one of a couple dozen that have been seized or wrecked by gangs since Feb. 28.

Haiti has been under a 72-hour state of emergency and nighttime curfew since Sunday evening, a day after gangs attacked the country’s two largest prisons and freed thousands of inmates in the Port-au-Prince area, according to Haitian authorities.

A large number of Haitian police and soldiers have been stationed at the airport to keep it under government control.

The ongoing violence at the airport has prevented Acting Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry from returning to the country, which the Haitian law enforcement source believed was a key motive for Monday’s attack. Henry departed late last week for a trip to Kenya to sign an agreement authorizing the deployment of roughly 1,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti in a mission backed by the United Nations.

It’s unclear when the prime minister will be able to return to Haiti, according to a source in his office.

The recent wave of violence exploded after Henry announced last week that the country’s general elections would be pushed back until August 2025 and he would stay in office to see them through. Gangs across Port-au-Prince have unified in an unprecedented way, with the openly stated goal of removing Henry from power.

Haiti has not held elections since President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July 2021.

Sources: ABC News, BBC News.
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