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This weekend has been another bloody one in the capital when at least three bandits were fatally
injured in exchanges of gunfire with law enforcement officers, during a police offensive on
Monday, April 10, 2023, in Thomassin, commune of Pétion-Ville. This offensive was in response
to an ambush of the national police a day earlier, resulting in the killing of three (3) police
officers. A police patrol of seven officers was ambushed by heavily armed gangs in Thomassin,
killing the three and wounding one. This attack also netted assault weapons that have been
confiscated by the police. According to the police spokesperson, Garry Desrosiers, despite the
killing of their fellow officers, the PNH is determined and does not intend to give up but will
continue to hunt armed gangs to their last entrenchment. Agents from specialized units were
deployed to various neighborhoods in the capital to rout the armed gangs that are terrorizing
residents. Besides the police patrols that were heavy in these areas, a subdivision of heavy
artillery division of the police force was also present on the streets, as part of the deployment.
Later today, things seem to have calmed down and people are going about their daily activities.
But in keeping with his decision to wage a permanent war on the gangs and organized crime in
the country, the police commissioner, Frantz Elbé instructed all the heads of the various divisions
and police stations to spare no expense and pull all the stops in order to relentlessly combat the
scourge of banditry in all its forms.
But this call to devote resources to the fight against banditry is facing an imminent crisis by way
of the lack of resources with the delay in the delivery of weapons and armored vehicles which
limits their operational capacity. The Canadian company Inkas, which is expected to deliver the
armored vehicles to help the national police to effectively undertake their duties, has announced
it is going to delay the delivery time which was initially due in June. Last year, the company was
tasked to deliver 18 armored vehicles but only 6 were delivered by year’s end. According to the
Assistant Director of Inkas, Eugène Gerstein, the company’s delays are due to delays in the
supply chain, as certain parts are hard to come by, due to the war in Ukraine. Though some of the
elements that they intended to use and that are needed are still lacking, they have adopted
another strategy, but again it depends on the deadlines of other external suppliers. It should be
noted that the ability of the police to fight against gangs depends heavily on the few insufficient
armored vehicles at their disposal.
The assassination of the three police officers by gang members of Carlo Petit-Homme, also
known as Ti Makak has increased the number of police officers killed since January to 21. The
spokesperson for the police union, Syndicat national des policiers haïtiens (SYNAPOHA),
Lionel Lazarre has called on the police headquarters to take urgent measures to halt criminality
in the country. The UN mission in the country, BINUH, also sent out a tweet in which it
denounced the assassination of the police officers and calling the act an ignoble one. Several
neighborhoods in the metropolitan area and in some of the departments, particularly in Artibonite
(North), are under the continuous influence of gangs which always seem to be gaining ground.
The police are trying to assure the public that they are carrying out simultaneous operations
against several armed gangs. In a communiqué put out by the PNH, they said they are mobilizing
their human and material resources to fight on all fronts against the thugs. In the West
Department, the security forces have waged an offensive against armed gangs in the outskirts of
Canaan, Corail, Onaville, Cesselesse, and Source Matelas.

Despite the numerous promises of addressing the security issue, repeated occasionally by the
government to the contrary, the population has been facing a climate of terror, maintained, with
complete impunity, by numerous armed gangs across the country. Since Thursday, April 6, 2023,
dozens of heavily armed individuals have been spreading panic in several areas of the town of
Montrouis (municipality in the Artibonite department, about 66 km north of Port-au-Prince). At
least 25 houses were burnt down by these gunmen. Around the same time, a lot of families have
fled Meyotte, a neighborhood in PetionVille as the gangs tried to control the area. A police
antenna was burnt down by the gangs. And just last Thursday night; armed gangs invaded a
village known as Onaville, northeast of the capital Port-au-Prince causing families to flee the
area.
Elsewhere, a Brazilian inter-congregational mission to a displaced persons camp on the outskirts
of Port-au-Prince is about to be permanently closed due to the violence in the district. The Inter-
congregational Missionary Community of Nazareth was founded by the National Conference of
Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) and the Conference of Religious of Brazil (CRB) after the earthquake
that devastated the Caribbean nation in 2010. The mission worked in Corail Cesse-Lesse, outside
of Port-au-Prince. Over the years, the missionaries offered numerous social services to the local
community, as well as providing to their religious needs. A central part of their work was to
monitor the development of malnourished children. They operated side by side with their
mothers to help them generate an income, and also provided learning activities to the kids. But
on January 14, criminal gangs invaded the mission building and stole equipment and money
from the nuns. This and the constant security threat forced the center to close after 13 years of
operation in the country.
Finally, the women’s national team, Les Grenadières, which qualified for the women’s FIFA
World Cup in Australia and New Zealand (July 20 to August 20), beat Moldova 3-1 in their
friendly match in Turkey, in preparation for the World cup. They still have to play Nigeria in
coming days.
Dela Harlley

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