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Armed Gangs Break Thousands From Jails Leading to State of Emergency in Haiti

Haiti has declared a three-day state of emergency and a night-time curfew after armed gangs stormed the country’s two biggest jails, allowing more than 3,000 dangerous criminals, including murderers and kidnappers, to escape back on to the streets of the poor and violence-racked Caribbean nation.

The finance minister, Patrick Boisvert – who is in charge while the embattled prime minister, Ariel Henry, is abroad trying to salvage support for a UN-backed security force to stabilise Haiti – said police would use “all legal means at their disposal” to recapture the prisoners and enforce the curfew.

Jimmy Chérizier, a former elite police officer known as Barbecue who now runs a gang federation, has claimed responsibility for the surge in attacks. He said the goal was to capture Haiti’s police chief and government ministers and prevent Henry’s return.

The emergency decree was issued after a deadly weekend that marked a new low in Haiti’s spiral of violence, and which has led the US to advise its citizens to leave “as soon as possible” and Canada to temporarily close its embassy.

At least nine people have been killed since Thursday, among them four police officers. Targets have included police stations, the country’s international airport and the national football stadium, where one employee was held hostage for hours.

The UN estimates that about 15,000 people were forced to flee the violence between Thursday and Saturday, including those already in makeshift camps for displaced people set up in schools, hospitals and squares around the capital, Port-au-Prince.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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