Home » Gangs in Haiti launch fresh attacks, days after a new prime minister is announced

Gangs in Haiti launch fresh attacks, days after a new prime minister is announced

by The Grio

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Gangs in Haiti laid siege to several neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, burning homes and exchanging gunfire with police for hours as hundreds fled the violence early Thursday in one of the biggest attacks since Haiti’s new prime minister was announced.

The attacks began late Wednesday in neighborhoods including Solino and Delmas 18, 20 and 24 located southwest of the main international airport, which has remained closed for nearly two months amid relentless gang violence.

“The gangs started burning everything in sight,” said a man called Néne, who declined to give his last name out of fear. “I was hiding in a corner all night.”

He walked with a friend as they carried a dusty red suitcase between them that was stuffed with clothes — the only thing they could save. The clothes belonged to Néne’s children, whom he had rushed out of Delmas 18 around dawn during a pause in the fighting.

The neighborhoods that once bustled with traffic and pedestrians were like ghost towns shortly after sunrise, with a heavy silence blanketing the area except for the occasional bleating from a lone goat.

An armored police truck patrolled the streets, rolling past charred vehicles and cinderblock walls where someone had scrawled “Viv Babecue,” a reference in Haitian Creole to one of Haiti’s most powerful gang leaders.

People whose homes were spared in the attack in Delmas 18 and other nearby communities clutched fans, stoves, mattresses and plastic bags filled with clothes as they fled by foot, motorcycle or on colorful small buses known as tap-taps. Others were walking empty-handed, having lost everything.

“There were gunshots left and right,” said Paul Pierre, 47, who was walking with his partner in search of shelter after their house was burned down. They couldn’t save any of their belongings.

He said the overnight fighting separated children from their parents and husbands from their wives…

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