Gangs Overrun Haiti's Two Largest Prisons, Freeing Nearly 4,000 Criminals As US Urges All Americans Exit

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Mar 04, 2024 - 04:40 PM

Haiti's problems just went from bad to worse, as the UN and embattled Haitian government of Ariel Henry (who is currently abroad as armed rebels seek his ouster) prepare a Kenyan peacekeeping force to intervene amid constant armed gang warfare which have taken over the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Despite for months not having had control of the capital city, authorities have ordered a nighttime curfew following gunmen overrunning the country's two biggest prisons.

Emptied prison cells after gangs stormed them over the weekend.

"The police were ordered to use all legal means at their disposal to enforce the curfew and apprehend all offenders," Finance Minister Patrick Boivert said of a new 72-hour curfew.

Local reports say that at least 12 people were killed and some 3,700 inmates escaped in the jailbreak. The prisons were stormed over the weekend, include a major facility in the capital and another in nearby Croix des Bouquet.'

About 80% of Port-au-Prince is already said to be under the control of the gangs, and the prison assaults started with armed groups staging a distraction by attacking police stations. The attack on the police stations then immediately followed with a coordinated assault on the prisons.

Given thousands of criminals just flooded the streets, the already bleak and lawless situation which has in many cases forced civilian residents out of their homes in the hardest hit neighborhoods, things are about to spiral further.

Reporters have in the aftermath witnessed bodies with bullet holes strewn about the prisons. According to the BBC, "Haiti's police union had asked the military to help reinforce the capital's main prison, but the compound was stormed late on Saturday."

"On Sunday the doors of the prison were still open and there were no signs of officers, Reuters news agency reported," the report continued. "Three inmates who tried to flee lay dead in the courtyard, the report said."

A Haitian government statement said Sunday that those behind the attack were "heavily armed criminals wanting at all costs to free people in custody, particularly for kidnapping, murder and other serious offenses.

The US Embassy in Port-au-Prince is urging all American citizens still in the country to "leave as soon as possible" while other embassies are restricting services.

Haiti's national police force has an estimated 9,000 officers, which has been unable to reign in the gang violence, given it also is responsible for the security and safety of the island's 11 million people.