Haitian Gang Leader Says He Will Down Weapons If Given Power, But Ready To Fight Foreign Peacekeepers.

Photo: Pixabay. Will Haiti go up in flames if foreign peacekeepers are brought in to restore order and disarm the gangs?
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One of Haiti’s most powerful gang leaders,  Jimmy Chérizier, also known as Barbecue, says he would consider an end to the violence in Haiti if armed groups like his own were allowed to take part in talks to establish a new government.

Armed gangs equipped with American-made weapons are in control of most of the capital Port-au-Prince.

He predicted the violence which has gripped Haiti in recent weeks get even worse in the coming days.

However, he told Sky News: “We are ready for solutions.”

Chérizier is the leader of a group called the G9 which has allegedly been responsible for numerous massacres of civilians in Haiti. He is known to enjoy the attention of the foreign press and to make himself available for interviews with foreign journalists. He likes to call himself the Haitian Robin Hood, claiming that he robs the rich to give to the poor.

Haiti, an impoverished Caribbean nation home to more than 11 million people, has been without a prime minister since 12 March of this year.

Ariel Henry resigned after being blocked by armed gangs from returning from Kenya, where he had signed a deal to import a multinational security force in a bid to restore law and order.

Gangs have capitalised on the power vacuum and expanded their control over swathes of the country, which has effectively been rendered lawless in places.

A Presidential Transitional Council has been established to draw up a plan to return Haiti to democratic rule, backed by other Caribbean nations and the US, but so far the Transitional Council is incomplete and has not acted to govern in any meaningful way.

Mr Chérizier – the most prominent figure in a loose alliance of gangs known as Viv Ansanm (Live Together), which is in control of around 80% of Port-au-Prince – believes his group should have a seat at the table in any future talks.

He told Sky News: “If the international community comes with a detailed plan where we can sit together and talk, but they do not impose on us what we should decide, I think that the weapons could be lowered.”

He said he was “not proud” of the spiralling violence in Haiti, and warned the crisis could continue if groups like his – which rail against “corrupt politicians” – are not part of a future government.

He also said any Kenyan forces drafted into the country to bolster security would be considered “aggressors” and “invaders”.

The situation in Haiti has been described as “cataclysmic” by the United Nations in a report issued earlier this week.

It said there had been more than 1,500 people killed and 800 injured in the first three months of 2024.

The report detailed the “harrowing practices” of the gangs, which are accused of using extreme violence and sexual abuse as a means of punishment and control.

Aid groups have reported difficulty in getting food and water into the capital, warning that millions are unable to find sustenance, with some on the verge of famine.

Source: BBC.
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