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Faith Nyasuguta

Haiti is grappling with a perilous escalation of violence as heavily armed gangs launched a brazen attack on Toussaint Louverture International Airport, marking the most significant assault on the airport in the country’s tumultuous history. 

This alarming incident unfolded against the backdrop of an already explosive situation, including mass prison escapes and coordinated attacks on key government sites by criminal gangs.

The scale and audacity of the airport attack were unprecedented, as gangs exchanged gunfire with both police and soldiers. The Toussaint Louverture International Airport, Haiti’s primary international gateway, was temporarily shuttered, with armored trucks deployed on the tarmac to repel the attackers. 

This marked the largest assault on the airport, a critical national infrastructure, and underscored the intensifying security crisis in the Caribbean nation.

This alarming incident occurred just hours after Haitian authorities declared a nighttime curfew in response to a weekend marked by widespread violence, including the brazen invasion of the country’s two largest prisons. 

Over the weekend, armed gang members overran these prisons, resulting in the mass escape of thousands of inmates. The government responded by imposing a 72-hour state of emergency, emphasizing its commitment to tracking down the escaped prisoners, a significant number of whom were in pre-trial detention facing serious charges, including murder and kidnapping.

Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, has long been beleaguered by gang violence, with criminal groups estimated to control up to 80% of the city. 

/Caribbean Life/

The recent coordinated attacks on state institutions, including the international airport and the national soccer stadium, are indicative of a concerning trend where gangs are increasingly targeting critical infrastructure and institutions that were once considered untouchable. 

The gangs’ audacity is further underscored by their brazen targeting of the Central Bank, highlighting the extent of their reach and influence.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s recent visit to Kenya aimed at garnering support for a United Nations-backed security force reflects the gravity of Haiti’s security crisis. 

The country’s National Police, with around 9,000 officers, faces significant challenges in providing security for a population of over 11 million. The force is routinely overwhelmed and outgunned by increasingly powerful criminal gangs, contributing to the deterioration of the security situation.

The recent surge in violence and the audacious attacks on critical infrastructure pose a severe threat to Haiti’s stability. The airport, as a symbol of national and economic importance, has become a focal point in this deteriorating security environment. 

The government is now confronted with the urgent task of addressing the broader security crisis, reclaiming control over key institutions, and re-establishing law and order in a country marred by ongoing violence and instability.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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