The Hamilton Spectator

Gangs unleash new attacks on capital

Upscale communitie­s Laboule and Thomassin looted; at least a dozen killed

- PIERRE-RICHARD LUXAMA AND ODELYN JOSEPH PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI RICARDO HERNANDEZ THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Gangs attacked two upscale neighbourh­oods in Haiti’s capital early Monday in a rampage that left at least a dozen people dead in surroundin­g areas.

Gunmen looted homes in the communitie­s of Laboule and Thomassin before sunrise, forcing residents to flee as some called radio stations pleading for police. The neighbourh­oods had remained largely peaceful despite a surge in violent gang attacks across Port-auPrince that began Feb. 29.

An Associated Press photograph­er saw the bodies of at least 12 men strewn on the streets of Pétionvill­e, located just below the mountainou­s communitie­s of Laboule and Thomassin.

Crowds began gathering around the victims. One was lying face up on the street surrounded by a scattered deck of cards and another found face down inside a pickup truck known as a “tap-tap” that operates as a taxi. A woman at one of the scenes collapsed and had to be held by others after learning a relative of hers was killed.

“Abuse! This is abuse!” cried out one Haitian man who did not want to be identified as he raised his arms and stood near one of the victims. “People of Haiti! Wake up!” An ambulance arrived shortly afterward and made its way through Pétionvill­e, collecting the victims.

“We woke up this morning to find bodies in the street in our community of Pétionvill­e,” said Douce Titi, who works at the mayor’s office. “Ours is not that kind of community. We will start working to remove those bodies before the children start walking by to go to school and the vendors start to arrive.”

The most recent attacks raised concerns gang violence would not cease despite Prime Minister Ariel Henry announcing nearly a week ago he would resign once a transition­al presidenti­al council is created, a move that gangs had been demanding.

Gangs have long opposed Henry, saying he was never elected by the people as they blame him for deepening poverty, but critics of gangs accuse them of trying to seize power for themselves or for unidentifi­ed Haitian politician­s.

Also on Monday, Haiti’s power company announced that four substation­s in the capital and elsewhere “were destroyed and rendered completely dysfunctio­nal.”

As a result, swaths of Port-auPrince were without power, including the Cite Soleil slum, the Croixdes-Bouquets community and a hospital.

The company said criminals also seized important documents, cables, inverters, batteries and other items.

As gang violence continues unabated, Caribbean leaders have been helping with the creation of a transition­al council. It was originally supposed to have seven members with voting powers. But one political party in Haiti rejected the seat they were offered, and another is still squabbling over who should be nominated.

 ?? ?? A child stands amid people who were detained for deportatio­n to Haiti inside a police truck Monday on a border bridge that connects Dajabon, Dominican Republic, with Haiti.
A child stands amid people who were detained for deportatio­n to Haiti inside a police truck Monday on a border bridge that connects Dajabon, Dominican Republic, with Haiti.

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