HomeInsécurité & BanditismeHaiti's newsreel : tough times for the Police

Haiti’s newsreel : tough times for the Police

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The past 10 days has been very difficult for the National Police force, a period in which they lost upwards of a dozen fellow officers to the streets, a further indication that the security situation in the country is getting beyond the scope of their ability to control. It is doubtful that the National Police can continue to function as a legitimate force for law and order as they are outgunned by gang members. After five officers were gunned down in the Village-de-Dieu shootout between the gangs and the police, more officers have succumbed either through assassinations or killings during mass demonstrations in recent days. On Monday, March 22, Mystal Pierre Richard, a member of the Special Forces’ unit CIMO, became the latest victim when he was killed during an altercation in Delmas between the security forces and the Fantom 509 group, which once again took to the streets. This death has caused more worries among the security forces and the special UN unit in the country. BINUH which expressed via tweet its worries and concerns over police-on-police crime may increase the lack of confidence within the force. Police officers further called on the authorities to make unity a priority within the police force and seek peaceful solutions to issues confronting the nation. The history of the Fantom 509 clash with the police started when on February 5, 2021, a member of the SWAT team Anozard Patrick was killed during a Fantom demonstration in the capital. In return, the police allegedly killed 4 members of the group, and later on one police officer Reynals Courtois, who is a member of Fantom 509 group, was arrested. The brazen nature with which 509 group consisted mostly of police officers is troubling to say the least. At the time of this publication, the bodies of the police officers killed by the 5 Segonn gang has yet to be retrieved and given to their families for proper burial.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to document the level of insecurity in the country that even such sports events are not spared. In what appears to be a national shame, the national team of Belize, in Haiti currently for the World Cup 2022 qualifier became victims of Fantom 509 protest actions this past Monday in the capital. While the Jaguars were heading to their hotel, escorted by four police officers, the team was stopped and threatened by armed insurgents on motorcycles with assault rifles forcing the police officers to negotiate with the insurgents before being allowed to escort the bus to the hotel. The Belizean football federation made their displeasure known in an official statement stating their disgust and disappointment in the way their players were treated as they arrived in the country. The federation later stated that they were happy to see that the players are now safe in their hotel. The challenge now for Haitian authorities is to ensure the safety of the players until the afternoon of their match with Haiti in the Sylvio Cator Stadium in Port-au-Prince. Any violence may result in the FHF being suspended as was the case with the final match between AFC and Violette Athletic Club.

The human rights group, Fondasyon je klere (FJKL) is also raising concern about the increasing number of police officers operating within the Fantom 509 group. TJKL asked in a position paper whether the Haitian National Police (PNH) has been hit by a fascist current. TJKL invites all who work for human rights and as defenders of freedom and rule of law to ponder this question seriously before it is too late. The comment came after the human rights group accused the Fantom 509 of vandalizing and ransacking the police station on Delmas 33, on March 17, taking with them doors, windows, TVs and radio, refrigerators, and motorcycles among other things. 509 members meanwhile then took the opportunity to free four police officers, by force, Beker Beaublan, Bonfritz Jean Eliphète, Edivens Joseph, and David Zidor, who were place in solitary confinement; as they threatened to execute any other detainees in the facility who attempts to come out of their cells. Also a fire at the Nissan car dealership, Universal Motors, owned by the businessman and politician, Dr. Réginald Boulos, was alleged to have been orchestrated by the same group. Boulos for his part blamed the government for not doing enough to address the security situation, allowing armed bandits to attack his business and destroying many of the cars on the lot, while killing several innocent people. One police officer named Jean Daniel Michel was killed while taking part in the pillage of the car dealership, according to a message posted on the police’s Facebook page. The PNH says an investigation is under way. A relative of the deceased police officer denied the official version made public to the media by the police. According to the relative, the officer was leaving his friend’s house in Simon Pelé when he was killed by gangs. According to police commissioner, Léon Charles, the officer was killed while stealing and the belief that the G9 gang killed him is preposterous.

Finally, the Haitian ambassador to Chile, Monesty Junior Fanfil has been recalled following allegations of rape leveled against him. According to official declarations, the ambassador was accused by a pregnant lady who said the ambassador had raped her. Thus, in the interest of the integrity of the Haitian diplomatic corps, the ambassador is being recalled, to avoid further scandal in the Chilean press. Some people are calling the allegations a setup that will surely be investigated. In a letter to the press in which he denied the allegations, the letter partially stated that Ambassador Fanfil Monesty Junior formally denied the fallacious allegations and lies by the employee of the embassy; fellow compatriot, Mickel-Ange Joseph, accusing him of beating and raping her. Ms. Joseph was dismissed on February 24, 2021 with one month’s notice until March 24, 2021 by the mission, for suspected fraud.

Dela Harlley

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