PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI- An estimated 12 people have been killed and houses destroyed by gang members in a small town near Haiti’s capital, according to the Mayor.
Joseph Jeanson Guillaume on Wednesday said gangsters were forced to leave Cabaret several days earlier, but then they returned and attacked residents.
“This morning we found several charred bodies,” Guillaume said.
For months, powerful gangs have controlled much of Haiti, including Cabaret.
According to the mayor, the attacks on the town disrupt traffic and trade because it is located along a major road.
A series of economic crises and political instability ensued after former President Jovenel Moise’s assassination on July 20, 2021.
As a result of the volatility, gangs have become more powerful, and thousands of people have fled the country.
According to the United Nations, there were 13,000 police officers as of September, so one officer for every 1,000 people.
“Nearly 96,000 people have been displaced by gangs in the capital alone.”
In the capital’s Cite Soleil neighbourhood, displaced residents said there was no food, water, or lodging available. A UN report estimates that 19,000 people in Cite Soleil are suffering from catastrophic hunger.
Ulrika Richardson, the UN’s resident and humanitarian coordinator in Haiti, reported 195 murders and 102 kidnappings in October.
Richardson has said that armed gangs control approximately 60 percent of the territory in Port-au-Prince, using “violence, including rape… to instill fear, punish and terrorize the local population“.
The UN reported in October that gangsters blocking a major fuel terminal in Haiti were causing catastrophic hunger on the island, with more than 4 million people suffering from severe food insecurity and more than 19,000 others suffering from famine.
The Haitian government formally requested international assistance in October to help it regain control, but no action has been taken.