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Week of gang violence in Haiti leaves at least 89 dead

A week of gang violence in Haiti’s capital has left at least 89 people dead, a rights group reported on Wednesday, as soaring prices, fuel shortages and gang warfare accelerate a brutal downward spiral in the security situation in Port-au-Prince.

The unrest erupted on July 7 between two rival factions in Cite Soleil, an impoverished and densely populated neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince.

As gunfire crackled in the slums for nearly a week, police, short-staffed and ill-equipped, did not intervene, while international humanitarian organisations struggled to deliver crucial food supplies and provide medical care to the victims.

Affrontement entre gangs en #Haïti. La misère des enfants haïtiens à moins d’1 heure 30 des États-Unis d’Amérique @SecBlinken @StateDept @POTUS @JoeBiden @USEmbassyHaiti et pas trop loin des bureaux des Nations Unies @BINUH_UN @antonioguterres @UNICEF en #Haiti. #racismsystemic pic.twitter.com/cGaTm69IjI

— Cyrus Sibert (@reseaucitadelle) July 13, 2022

Thousands of families living in the slums that have sprung up here over the past four decades had no choice but to hide inside their homes, unable to fetch food or water, and, with many houses made of sheet metal, dozens of residents fell victim to stray bullets.

At least 89 people were killed and 16 others are missing” in the past week’s violence, the National Human Rights Defence Network said in a statement, adding that another 74 people sustained gunshot or knife wounds.

#Haiti

“The situation is spiralling out of control. Large parts of Port-au-Prince are controlled by gangs; the data we have show that the situation over the past 90 days has gotten worse. We already had 1 million people in this city who were acutely food insecure.” — @wfp pic.twitter.com/rNUWWEiDeA

— UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) July 12, 2022

Mumuza Muhindo, head of the local mission of Doctors Without Borders, on Wednesday urged all combatants to allow medics to safely access Brooklyn, an area of Cite Soleil most affected by the violence.

Despite the danger, Mr Muhindo said his group has operated on an average of 15 patients a day since last Friday, adding that his colleagues have seen burned and rotting corpses along a road leading to the Brooklyn neighbourhood, possibly either gang members killed in the clashes or people trying to flee.

“It is a real battlefield,” he stressed. “It is impossible to estimate how many people have been killed.”


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