US Evacuates Citizens from Haiti Amid Escalating Violence in Gang-Dominated Capital

Posted on 26 March 2024

The United States has initiated the evacuation of its citizens from Haiti via helicopter, responding to reports of fresh fighting in the Caribbean nation’s gang-dominated capital. Particularly fierce gunfire has erupted in some of the city’s wealthiest enclaves. A state department spokesperson, Vedant Patel, emphasized that the operation was conducted with expertise and only when deemed safe. The situation in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, remains volatile, with heavily armed gang fighters challenging the government since February 29. Nearly 1,600 US citizens in Haiti have sought assistance due to the ongoing security crisis. Journalists and witnesses have reported renewed violence, describing scenes reminiscent of “a scene out of Mad Max.” The violence has shifted to upscale areas, including Laboule, Thomassin, and Pétion-Ville, where residents have pleaded for help from the out-gunned police force.

As those evacuations began, journalists and witnesses reported renewed fighting in Haiti’s capital, which the Unicef chief, Catherine Russell, this week compared to “a scene out of Mad Max.” “Heavy gunfire [echoed] across once-peaceful communities near the Haitian capital,” reported the Associated Press, whose reporters saw at least five bodies in and around the city’s suburbs. Matt Knight, a British aid worker who is in Port-au-Prince, said: “ [The shooting] has just been constant today … It has just been absolutely popping off … I can hear shots going now. It has just been all day: like constant pop-pop – all day. Sometimes it sounds like it is two streets away, sometimes it sounds like it is half a mile away. But it has just been constant … This is the worst day yet.” Knight, who is the Haiti director for the Irish humanitarian aid agency Goal Global, said his organization had managed to restart its operations in one of Port-au-Prince’s deprived suburbs after the shooting subsided there. But in recent days the violence had shifted to some of the city’s most upscale areas, including Laboule, Thomassin, and Pétion-Ville. The residents of affected communities reportedly put in calls to local radio stations to plead for help from Haiti’s out-gunned police force, which has been struggling to prevent gangs seizing total control of the capital.
Source: The Guardian


haiti gang violence US