A hospital in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, has been evacuated by police after gang violence and shooting in the neighborhood endangered patients, reports the BBC, AP News, and other news agencies, with slightly different versions of the events emerging over time.
More than 100 patients – nearly half of them children – had to be removed from the Fontaine Hospital Center, according to its director Jose Ulysse.
The hospital is in the large shantytown of Cite Soleil, where there have been reports of unrest in recent days following the death of a gang leader.
Haiti is currently in the grip of unprecedented levels of lawlessness.
“There was a gang war, but the war is around the hospital,” Mr Ulysse told AFP news agency, clarifying an earlier report on PBS that gangs had entered the hospital and taken hundreds of people hostage.
In 2022 Mr. Ulysse told the Web site Revolt that the hospital had never been targeted by gangsters, though he himself had a couple of scary experiences.
He said houses around the hospital had been set on fire and that while some people had been able to flee the facility on their own, others – including a woman who had given birth by Caesarean section a day earlier – needed the help of the local authorities.
“We were able to get everyone to safety,” Mr Ulysse added.
A source in Port-au-Prince told the BBC’s Mexico, Central America and Cuba Correspondent, Will Grant, that the situation at the hospital had “escalated very quickly”.
It came a day after powerful gang leader Iskar Andrice was killed in Cite Soleil – raising fears that there could be a further spike in violence in the area.
Gangs have taken increasing control of Port-au-Prince since the assassination of the country’s president in 2021 threw Haiti into a political crisis.
Thousands of Haitians have fled their homes in the capital, while more than 2,400 others have been killed, according to the latest figures from the UN.
Kenya has said it will send 1,000 police officers to Haiti to help restore order – a move that has been backed by the UN, but is currently held up in the courts in Kenya over a lawsuit claiming that use of Kenyan cops overseas is unconstitutional.