CROIX-DES-BOUQUETS — Heavily armed gangs erected barricades around Croix-des-Bouquets, cutting off access to Port-au-Prince and neighboring towns for six days, according to residents who spoke with local media.
On Feb. 3, residents said, armed individuals seized a truck and beat the driver, forcing him to put the vehicle across the National Road #8 located in eastern Croix-des-Bouquets. Since then, the road leading on one way to Port-au-prince and on the other to the Dominican Republic has been blocked to travelers.
Gunfire has been heard daily for the past two weeks, residents said. It was particularly intense in the early morning hours of Feb.7 around Cotard and Michaud, where the blocked road is located.
Croix-des-Bouquets residents who were interviewed on several local stations said different communes are totally paralyzed. Residents have stayed inside their homes and no cars were seen on the roads. The armed men thoroughly search the passengers of the rare motorcycles that manage to make their way alongside the truck erected in the street.
Numerous families have fled their houses after armed bandits broke in to steal their belongings or set fires to the homes. The families who stayed behind cannot leave their homes because of the daily gunfire.
Local media also reported that at least one person was killed over the weekend.
On Feb. 2, the Haitian National Police said police carried out several operations aimed at weakening the gangs in downtown Croix-des-Bouquets. Some bandits were arrested and others killed, PNH had said in its twitter account.