Dozens dead and injured in Haiti’s capital in gang clashes

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Dozens of people have died in four days of gang battles in a violent neighborhood of the Haitian capital, the latest eruption of bloodshed in a growing wave of violence that has swept the country, local officials announced on Tuesday.

Jean Hislain Frederick, deputy mayor of the Cité Soleil district in Port-au-Prince, said fighting broke out on July 8 during a clash between members of two rival gangs and at least 50 people died. and more than 50 were injured.

The violence began the day after the first anniversary of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Since Moïse was killed, violence has skyrocketed in Haiti as gangs fight over territory, and the government has struggled to clamp down.

Aid group Doctors Without Borders said thousands of people were stranded in Cite Soleil without clean water, food and medical care.

The organization called on other aid groups for help and urged the gangs “to spare the civilians”. In a press release, it said three of its members were treating injured people in a Cité Soleil neighborhood called Brooklyn.

“Along the only road to Brooklyn, we encountered corpses rotting or being burned,” Mumuza Muhindo, Medecins Sans Frontieres’ Haiti chief of mission, said in the statement. “It can be people killed in the clashes or people trying to leave who have been shot, it’s a real battlefield. It is not possible to estimate how many people were killed.

Local officials said the fighting involved the rival gangs known as G9 and G-Pep.

The G9 is a coalition of gangs also known as the G9 Family and Allies, led by a former police officer, Jimmy Cherizier.

Known as “Barbecue”, Cherizier has been linked to massacres in the past, and his coalition is said to have allied itself with the right-wing party of Moïse. After the president was killed, he called the crime “cowardly and heinous”.

G-Pep is a gang born in Cité Soleil, although it is allied with other armed groups in the Haitian capital.

The United Nations World Food Program warned on Tuesday that hunger is set to rise in Haiti, which is experiencing 26% inflation, high food and fuel prices and deteriorating security, insecurity in Port-au- Prince and surrounding areas worsening significantly since early May.

The agency’s national director, Jean-Martin Bauer, told UN correspondents during a video news conference that 1.3 million Haitians in the northwest and parts of the south “are at one step away from starvation”.

Because criminal groups are blocking roads and attacking trucks carrying humanitarian aid, the WFP is using ferries and planes to deliver desperately needed food, he said.

Bauer said the agency needed $39 million for its operations in Haiti over the next six months, and he urged donors not to let the situation in the country “go from bad to worse.”