At least eight people were lynched this Tuesday by residents of Mirebalais and the nearby town of Saut d’Eau, northeast of Port-au-Prince, after attacking a hospital with automatic weapons the day beforewhile neighbors look for more gang members.
The University Hospital of Mirebalais, a city about 40 kilometers northeast of the Haitian capital, experienced a hellish night under direct fire from automatic weapons and the health center, usually frequented by vulnerable people, has bullet holes in its walls.
Since the early hours of this morning, young people armed with machetes and sticks walk the streets of Mirebalais and Saut d’Eau in search of other alleged members of the group of assailantswhich could be in fields or abandoned houses.
More than 250 alleged bandits have been killed in Haiti since last April within the framework of the Bwa Kale movement, launched by the population of various parts of the country to combat the actions of armed gangs in their neighborhoods.
New attacks, despite the announced truce
The attack on the Mirabalais hospital comes days after leaders of the main coalitions of armed groups, such as the GPEP and G9, will announce a truce to facilitate the resumption of activities in Haiti. The two armed coalitions now claim to be united in an association called Vivre Ensemble (Living Together).
For several days, Saut d’Eau has been the subject of repeated attacks by gangs from Village de Dieu (in the heart of Port-au-Prince), in which at least a dozen civilians have died and a police station has been set on fire. . These actions come after a shipment of ammunition from the Village de Dieu gang was allegedly stolen by civilians, according to videos circulating on social networks.
This Monday, upon his return from the United Nations General Assembly, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry reacted to the alleged truce between armed groups by stating that bandits are still bandits and cannot facilitate peace and coexistence. “Gangs cannot bring peace. Gangs cannot unite people. Gangs are a symbol of division. The dishonest acts that are taking place in Saut d’Eau and the acts of destruction in Carrefour-feuilles clearly demonstrate that Bandits are still bandits. Bandits are criminals. Bandits are murderers,” he said.
Fight for control of territory
For its part, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicated in a document published last week that another truce between gangs agreed in mid-July appears to be holding. However, he warned, these groups “seem to be taking advantage of this calm to concentrate their efforts on expanding their control to areas that are not yet under their influence.”
This situation has given rise to extremely violent clashes between gangs and local population, especially in neighborhoods where self-defense groups have been formed. “It is possible that the change in gang dynamics is partly related to progress in talks on the deployment of a multinational security support mission,” the organization said.
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