HomeWorldHaitian people mobilize to hunt down suspected gang members

Haitian people mobilize to hunt down suspected gang members

The police have joined the population in the fight against organized crime and police operations have multiplied to evict suspected criminals.

A mob killed two suspected gang members in the town of Gros Morne, Haiti, as part of a grassroots campaign that, according to media reports, has caused around 100 deaths in the past week.

“We are poison for bandits,” some men shout in one of the videos circulating, where the two men are lynched in Gros Morne, 134 kilometers from the capital Port-au-Prince, on Saturday.

UN reinforces call for force to stop escalation of violence in Haiti

Images of executions of suspected criminals circulate on the internet, showing, for example, how large stones, pieces of wood and iron are thrown at them and how the bodies are covered by burning tires.

On social networks there have been calls for the persecution of criminals in the Haitian capital and in other cities, leading young people armed with machetes, stones or knives and sometimes hooded, to go out into the streets in search of gang members, often accompanied by police.

In recent days, the name of the campaign has changed from “Operação Busca Bandidos” to “Bwa Kale” (in Portuguese, “naked penis”), which was the slogan used last year in protests against the Haitian government.

The police have joined the population in the fight against organized crime, having multiplied police operations to evict suspected criminals and press conferences to publicize figures on these actions.

According to data provided this week by the authorities, several suspected criminals were fatally wounded in shootouts with police and weapons were seized from them.

On April 24, a mob in Port-au-Prince beat and burned to death 13 suspected gang members using gasoline-soaked tires after leading the men out of police custody, police officials said.

The Haitian National Police said in a statement that officers stopped and searched a minibus for contraband and confiscated weapons from the suspects before “unfortunately they were lynched by members of the population.”

Witnesses at the scene also said the suspects were members of the Kraze Barye (“Breaking Barriers” in the local dialect) gang.

Authorities say the group is led by Vitel’Homme Innocent, accused of helping to kidnap 17 American missionaries in October 2021 and also linked to the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse.

Insecurity in Port-au-Prince is “comparable to that of countries in a situation of armed conflict,” with a significant increase in homicides and kidnappings, the UN warned last week, which called for an international force to be sent to the country.

“The Haitian people continue to face one of the worst human rights crises in decades and a major humanitarian emergency,” describes the report by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres.

Between January 1 and March 31, the number of registered homicides increased by 21% in the country compared to the previous quarter (815 vs. 673), and the number of kidnappings by 63% (637 vs. 391).

Source: Observadora

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