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Tuesday April 16, 2024

Haiti in 'state of emergency' after thousands of prisoners escape jail

Emergency imposed for next 72 hours due to an explosion of gang-related violence over the weekend

By Web Desk
March 04, 2024
The image shows a tire on fire. — AFP/File
The image shows a tire on fire. — AFP/File

The Haitian government has imposed a curfew and declared a state of emergency for the next 72 hours in the country due to an explosion of gang-related violence over the weekend that saw thousands of convicts escape, Al Jazeera reported.

The government said that it would search for the murderers, kidnappers, and other violent criminals that had fled during the assaults on the country's two biggest prisons on Saturday night.

Gangs led by Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer known as "Barbecue", want to remove Prime Minister Ariel Henry from power.

According to Pierre Esperance of the National Network for Defence of Human Rights, only about 100 of the National Penitentiary’s estimated 3,800 inmates remain inside.

In a statement on social media on Sunday, the Ministry of Communication said the attack on the prison "sought to release those who were imprisoned for acts of murder, kidnapping, and other serious crimes".

The armed clashes between police and gangs intensified during Henry's recent visit to Kenya.

Henry, who came to power after President Jovenel Moise's assassination in 2021, had previously said that he would step down by early February.

However, he later said that security must first be re-established to ensure free and fair elections.