‘Rapists, killers, kidnappers’: Haiti furious with gangs as country descends into anarchy

Haitians are increasingly angry at the gangs, who have shot unarmed civilians and left bodies to rot in the street.

The people of Haiti are increasingly fed up with the “rapists, killers, kidnappers” in the country’s gangs as the capital Port-au-Prince is hit with constant gunfire.

In recent days, locals on the ground have reported long battles between the gangs and police officers, making life impossible for those in the crossfire.

Numerous reports have claimed the gangs control 80 percent of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, but police have stepped up efforts to try and claw territory back.

Speaking to The Guardian, locals described the chaos while lamenting the gangs for pushing the country into the escalating crisis.

Emmanuela Douyon, a Haitian activist and writer, said: “No one in Haiti believes any gang member is a revolutionary. They are rapists, killers, kidnappers.”

He added: “They are just adopting this discourse and this narrative to try to gain sympathy and have people forgive them for what they have done.”

Amy Wilentz, an American journalist who has covered Haiti for nearly four decades, highlighted the hundreds of thousands in Haiti who have been internally displaced.

She said: “To me, the message that’s being sent [with these evacuations] is that nothing is going to be done and everybody’s too scared of the gangs to leave their citizens in this maelstrom. It’s a siege, it’s a war.”

Former Prime Minister Ariel Henry resigned last month after the gangs stormed the airport and two main prisons in Haiti.

The gangs were led by Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier, threatened “genocide” and a “civil war” as they demanded that Henry step down.

He had visited Kenya where he was negotiating a deal that would have seen 1,000 Kenyan police officers deployed in Haiti to try and restore order. The deal was never finalized after the Kenyan Supreme Court blocked it in January.

Cherizier told Sky News last week that he would consider a ceasefire if included in future political talks. But he warned that any foreign forces will be seen as “invaders.”

Cherizier added: “If the international community comes with a detailed plan where we can sit together and talk, but they do not impose on us what we should decide, I think that the weapons could be lowered.

“We don’t believe in killing people and massacring people, we believe in dialogue, we have weapons in our hand and it’s with the weapons that we must liberate this country.”

He continued: “If the Kenyan military or Kenyan police come, whatever, I will consider them as aggressors, we will consider them as invaders, and we do not have to collaborate with any invaders that have come to walk over our independence.”


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