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HAITI: 10 ALLEGED GANG MEMBERS BEATEN AND BURNED BY RESIDENTS

Region of Concern: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Written By Beatrice Cirrone; Edited by Salomon Montaguth, Radhika Ramalinga Venkatachalam

Date: April 25, 2023

Police Car in Port-au-Prince[1]



Event: On April 24, citizens lynched at least ten alleged local gang members, including leader Carlo Petithomme, who escaped from a police operation in Port-au-Prince. Residents then burned some bodies using gasoline-soaked tires. The residents' violence testifies to the growing public anger over ongoing gang-related violence.[2] Gangs control over 80 percent of the capital, including several hospitals. Gang-related violence has caused the deaths of over 500 civilians and 20 police officers since January 2023.[3]


Significance: The event will likely lead to an aggressive response from gangs that will likely target private buildings and public institutions, such as schools, in the capital to claim the deaths of their members and leader Carlo Petithomme. The Haitian government will very likely condemn the residents' violence, which will likely cause a reduction in its political support and protests by citizens in Port-au-Prince. Haitian authorities will very likely increase military deployment in the capital neighborhood where the attack occurred to limit violence and reduce the risk of urban guerilla fights between citizens and gangs. The spread of violence will very likely amplify insecurity among workers, further worsening the country’s economic conditions and affecting the supply chain in the capital. This is likely to cause an increase in essential goods’ prices and shortages in supermarkets in some areas of the city. The event will likely lead to a strong public reaction and the holding of protests and strikes as popular discontent with the government's handling of this social and economic crisis grows.


Recommendations: Additional police should secure public buildings, such as schools and hospitals, to prevent gang attacks. The Haitian government should establish military checkpoints in some of the capital's neighborhoods, such as Canape Vert and Turgeau, to strengthen control of people and prevent the illicit spread of weapons and explosives. The UN Security Council should authorize a mission to strengthen the military capabilities of Haitian soldiers and offer training through the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the country. The US and EU should send bulletproof vests and trucks to the Haitian army to boost military equipment. In cooperation with local NGOs, the Haitian government should organize social events to foster public debate through nonviolent methods and listen to residents' demands. It should also allocate funds to initiate projects with the participation of former gang members to achieve social reconciliation and their reintegration into society and working life. The government should introduce economic measures to mitigate the potential price increase of essential food items, such as flour, rice, eggs, and legumes, and contain the effects of the rising cost of living.


 

[1]Fiat Siena DDO- 08-11-06” by Cristian Borquez licensed under CC BY 2.0

[2] Haitian residents lynch and set fire to suspected gang members, Reuters, April 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitian-residents-lynch-set-fire-suspected-gang-members-2023-04-24/

[3] Haiti: UN says gang violence has killed hundreds in 2023, DW, March 2023, https://www.dw.com/en/haiti-un-says-gang-violence-has-killed-hundreds-in-2023/a-65073970


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