Haiti gang violence
Dark smoke billowed into the sky in Port-au-Prince as protests over the unchecked gang violence, fuel price hikes and other woes took place around the capital the week of July 11. Photo courtesy of Esdra Jeudy.

PORT-AU-PRINCE — At least 50 people are dead and another 100 were left injured in a confrontation between two gangs, G9 and GPep, that began last weekend in Cité Soleil. 

“On both sides, bodies of opponents are burned, these figures are underestimated,” said Joel Janeus, acting executive officer of Cité Soleil. 

As the gang wars continue unabated in the area, police have still not taken control. As a result, scores of people were fleeing the area or otherwise left to fend for themselves. 

The number of known injured increased from 50 to 100  on Monday alone, most of them ordinary people who were fleeing the fighting, Frederic said. He also provided the number of known dead as more than 50.

“We do not have sufficient means to stop the confrontations. We contacted the police, we’ve also spoken to  the Interior minister Littz Quitel, but so far we have no answer” 

Jean Hislin Frederic,  Cite Soleil’s interim mayor

Cite Soleil experienced gang conflict earlier this year, according to a report of the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights RNDDH, in a long conflict that caused more than 40 deaths between January and May 2022. It seems at that time it was to control more territory. The reasons behind this weekend’s outbreak are unknown.

“The  neighborhood faces many difficulties, social problems, armed violence, filthy water on the roads because of lack of cleaning,” Frederic said. “It’s true that people flee the area. They cannot stay here to die.”

Local officials cry out for government help  

In a message, Bishop Max Leroy Mesidor of the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince, called on  the government to assure their responsibilities and to use diplomatic relations to help confront this severe violence 

“Bodies of victims of the confrontation are abandoned in the streets and residents continue to breathe the smell of the dead,” Mesidor said in the July 12 statement. “In some areas, belligerents interfere with the functioning of these institutions providing critical services to the public. They use heavy equipment to destroy the houses of certain residents.”

The  neighborhood faces many difficulties, social problems, armed violence, filthy water on the road because of lack of cleaning. It’s true that people flee the area. They cannot stay here to die.”

Jean Hislin Frederic,  Cite Soleil’s interim mayor

Indeed, residents in neighborhoods like Bois 9, Cite Lumiere, Cite Geffrard and Wharf de Brooklyn are under siege by the nonstop shootouts. 

“We do not have the means to help people deal with this situation, at Carrefour Duvivier there are some agents who’s trying to help those who can to take shelter elsewhere,” Janeus said. 

On the morning of July 12, countless residents were seen fleeing Cite Soleil, carrying bags on their heads. For the moment, authorities are not yet able to give the number of displaced persons. 

In a tweet issued Saturday, the United Nations Office in Haiti, BINUH, condemned the  violence that took place in Delmas, Croix-des-Missions, Santo, Tabarre also in the commune of Cite Soleil. It also calls on bandits to end the violence and allow the emergency service to do their job. 

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Murdith Joseph is a social worker and journalist. She studied at the State University of Haiti and Maurice Communication. She first worked as a journalist presenter and reporter for Radio Sans Fin (RSF) then as a journalist reporter for Radio tele pacific and writting for the daily Le National. Today she joined the Haitian Times team and covers the news in Port-Au-Prince-Haiti.

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