Haiti gang violence soars as UN envoy appeals for international armed force

© Odelyn Joseph, AP

Gang violence is spiralling out of control in Haiti, the UN envoy to that country said Tuesday as she appealed again for the creation of an international force to restore order in the poorest country in the Americas.

Haiti has been mired in political and economic crisis for years, with rampant lawlessness, poverty and despair. The assassination of president Jovenel Moise in July 2021 triggered another acute downturn in national stability.

Powerful and well-armed gangs control much of Haiti and regularly kidnap people and hold them for ransom.

"Gang-related violence has reached levels not seen in decades. Murders and kidnappings increased for a fourth consecutive year," Helen La Lime said in presenting Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' latest report on Haiti.

She said 1,359 kidnappings were recorded in 2022, more than doubling that recorded in 2021 and averaging roughly four per day.

Murders are up by a third since 2021, with 2,183 reported, said La Lime.

"This violence is part of well-defined strategies designed to subjugate populations and expand territorial control," the envoy said.

She said gangs kill men, women, and children deliberately with snipers shooting from rooftops.

"The hour is grave. We need much more action," Rodrigue said.

(AFP)


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