Haiti: Gangs Engage In Fresh Confrontation With Authorities

Port-au-Prince, the urban hub of Haiti, was thrust into chaos on Monday when dominant criminal factions orchestrated an offensive, engaging in a heated exchange with authorities in the city center.

Reports from local residents indicate that gunfire erupted in the vicinity of Champ de Mars, a sprawling public park adjacent to the National Palace, the historic former presidential residence.

The Miami Herald reported that a minimum of four police officers sustained injuries during the altercation. Haiti remains without a president following the assassination of Jovenel Moise in 2021, with no functioning parliament and its most recent election held in 2016.

For decades, Haiti has been plagued by a relentless cycle of poverty, frequent natural calamities, political turbulence, and rampant gang-related violence.

In a series of coordinated offensives since late February, Haiti’s potent gangs have forged alliances, targeting police stations, prisons, the airport, and the seaport in a determined campaign to overthrow Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Read also: Haiti Gang Leader, Cherizier Calls For Revolution

Unelected and unpopular, Henry announced March 11 he would step down to make way for a so-called transitional council.

However, three weeks later, the formation and induction of the council are still pending, as disagreement persists among political groups and other concerned parties regarding the appointment of the next prime minister and uncertainties persist regarding the legality of such a council.

Henry’s office issued a statement on Monday, asserting that the council has yet to materialize due to the constraints of Haiti’s constitution, which prohibits the formation of such a body.

As per the statement, Henry is consulting CARICOM, the regional authority tasked with overseeing this critical transition process in the Caribbean, for guidance.

While gang violence remains unabated, communities endure a deepening humanitarian catastrophe marked by scarcities of food, medicine, and essential goods.

Africa Today News, New York

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