At least 148 people killed by gangs in Haiti since the end of April

More than 9,000 residents fled their homes and took refuge with relatives or in temporary sites, such as churches and schools.

At least 148 people were killed between late April and early May in the north of the Haitian capital plagued by clashes between two rival gangs, a human rights organization said on Tuesday.

“At least one hundred and forty-eight people were murdered, including seven bandits (…) executed by their leader”, declared the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH), after an investigation carried out in the neighborhoods attacked by the armed bands.

“Massacre of incredible cruelty”

The United Nations had already warned on Friday of the seriousness of the facts by announcing that at least 75 civilians had been killed, including women and children. Denouncing “a massacre of incredible cruelty”, the RNDDH indicates, in its report, that people were killed by bullets or with knives.

Other victims were burned alive “inside their own burnt houses” or “in the streets, with pneumatic tires”. “Most of the murdered women and girls have been raped before,” reports the human rights association.

The Haitian organization testifies to the existence of a mass grave with 30 corpses, buried by one of the gangs because the bodies, abandoned in the middle of the street under the sun, were decomposing. Other bodies were thrown by the perpetrators of the murders into wells or latrines.

The capital under siege

If an apparent calm has reigned for several days in this northern suburb of the Haitian capital, many of these people have not yet returned to their homes, for fear of a resumption of violence.

For several decades, armed gangs have been raging in the poorest neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, but they have drastically increased their hold on the city and the country in recent years, multiplying murders and heinous kidnappings.

More than two weeks after the start of this outbreak of violence, the Haitian government has not yet expressed itself on this situation which places the capital in a state of siege, preventing any safe exit by road to the rest of the country.

Since June 2021, the authorities have already lost control of the only road access that connects Port-au-Prince to the southern half of the country because, over the space of two kilometers, the national road is completely under the control of armed bands.

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