4,000 Inmates Freed as Chaos Breaks Out in Haiti

(RepublicanDaily.org) – Armed groups belonging to criminal gangs in Haiti stormed the country’s largest prison, resulting in the escape of roughly 4,000 convicts.

As a result, the Haitian government has declared a state of emergency as well as a curfew in order to help authorities gain back some semblance of control and order.

The prison, the National Penitentiary of Haiti, is located in Port-au-Prince, with many of the convicts being members of gangs themselves. A large number were arrested and convicted in connection with the assassination of Jovenel Moise in 2021 – when he served as Haiti’s president. The attack allowed almost all of the convicts inside the national penitentiary to escape.

Armed members of the gangs – a perennial problem in the tropical country – also occupied a prison in Croix-des-Bouquets, an area near Port-au-Prince.

The attacks were timed to coincide with the departure of Prime Minister Ariel Henry from the country. The gangs have called for Henry’s resignation amid the prime minister’s failure to honor an earlier promise that he would step down from his post and facilitate the holding of elections in the country. Haiti has not had an election since 2016.

For his part, Henry said that he would only step down once the threat posed by Haiti’s domestic gangs has been properly quelled. In fact, his overseas trip was to Kenya, where he petitioned the government there to lend aid and troops to help Haitian authorities keep the peace amid continuous gang violence in the country.

Kenya has agreed to help Haiti out, with Henry and Kenyan President William Ruto signing an agreement that will see Kenya deploy 1,000 police officers to Haiti to help restore order and deal with gang violence.

The violence has resulted in the closure of most of the businesses in Port-au-Prince, as gangs entrench themselves in their respective territories. Streets are largely empty as residents seek shelter in their homes, while others – roughly 15,000 – have already been displaced from their homes and are staying temporarily in a school building in the capital.

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