Renewed Gang Attacks In Haiti, Police Station Taken, Casualties Unknown.

Photo: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. Gangs in Haiti are heavily armed with weapons like these, most of which are believed to come from the United States.
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On Friday evening, heavily armed men launched a series of attacks on civilians and police in the suburb of Gressier to the south of Port-au-Prince, spreading terror among the population, many of whom fled to nearby mountains.

There were eye witness accounts of houses being looted and burned. Citizens targeted were reportedly injured or killed… forcing the population to take refuge outside the area to save their lives.

The attacks continued on Saturday morning as armed gangs attacked the local  police station which is located in an area controlled by Renel Destina alias “Ti Lapli”, leader of the Grand Ravine gang of at least 300 men.

Local reports said that police exchanged gunfire with the gang for several hours, before eventually the police were forced to withdraw from the building.

Several vehicles in the police station yard were set on fire

Up to this point the number of casualties is unknown. Lionel Lazarre, the Coordinator of the National Union of Haitian Police Officers was also unable to tell reporters whether the police had taken any injuries during the exchange of fire.

The police union has  “X” that 25 police stations and branches offices are now in the hands of gangs.

As a result of this and similar events,  growing number of civilians and police officers are demanding the dismissal and arrest of Haiti’s police chief, but the police say that they are in need of help and support as they are often facing gangs with superior firepower.

The current wave of violence surged started at the end of February when gangs launched several attacks. Gunmen have burned police stations, opened fire on the main international airport that remains closed since March 4, and attacking Haiti’s two biggest prisons, freeing more than 4,000 inmates.

Veteran politician Andre Michel wrote on the social media platform X that the most recent attack targeting Gressier shows “Haiti will not be able to get out from under the gangs without an international force. … We will not be able to secure the country ourselves.”

A U.N.-backed deployment of Kenyan police officers to Haiti has been repeatedly delayed, although there is speculation the first officers might arrive around May 24. Recently US aircraft have been seen arriving in Port au Prince and contractors appears to be starting work on barracks to house the incoming law enforcement officers.


Sources: Haiti Times, VOA, AP.
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