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The situation in the country is currently confusing as the gangs have grown increasingly bold and decisive in their quest to unseat the government of interim prime minister Ariel Henry. The gangs, taking advantage of the Prime Minister’s absence in the country, following a trip to Kenya, East Africa to sign the cooperative agreement that will usher in Kenyan forces to lead the peacekeeping mission to the country, they gangs have been carrying out coordinated attacks in Port-au-Prince against strategic infrastructure since February 29. These skirmishes have resulted in the suspension of air traffic into the country as the main international airport, Toussaint Louverture International airport came under attack by the gangs who have strengthen their hold on terror in the metropolitan area. No commercial flights from the US or France landed at the airport in Port-au-Prince on Monday, and none are confirmed for Tuesday either. No domestic flights were operating, and no private planes used the single runway on Monday, March 4, 2024.

The government has subsequently declared a state of emergency in the West Department which has also been plagued by these attacks. According to the official decree, the government is said to have taken the decision to declare a state of emergency throughout the department for a period of seventy-two hours, renewable based on circumstances, to restore order and take appropriate measures to regain control of the situation. A curfew was in place on Sunday, March 3, 2024, from 8pm through 5amThere was a curfew from 6pm to 5am, and from 6pm to 5am Monday through Wednesday. The official decree stated that the decision was taken in part due to the increasing deterioration of the security situation in the country, especially in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, which is characterized by increasingly violent criminal acts perpetrated by armed gangs, causing massive population displacements and consisting in particular of kidnappings and assassinations of peaceful citizens, violence against women and children, and ransacking and theft of public and private property. 

Nonetheless, the US government has announced that it will not send troops into the country to counter the gang’s offensive. In a statement to the press, the White House national security communications advisor, John Kirby, said that senior government officials have been in close contact with their Haitian counterparts and international community throughout the weekend to monitor developments and to help stabilize the situation and move quickly towards a lasting political solution. And, after 72 hours of diplomatic contacts between Haiti and the USA, the Biden administration will not deploy American troops in Haiti to support the security operations of the Haitian National Police (PNH). Instead, they’re urgently mobilizing all the support that they and the international community can immediately provide to Haiti, particularly to the PNH to ensure that they can restore security for the good of the people. The Biden administration is working to accelerate the deployment of the multinational security support mission which will help restore security on an urgent basis.

These discussions were motivated by fears that the international security mission, to be led by Kenya, was not ready to be deployed in time to counter the gangs’ activities. This situation occurs when the de facto prime minister is abroad. On his way back after his trip to the Caribbean and Africa since last week, Ariel Henry was due to return to Haiti at the start of the week, but, because of the sudden acceleration of the crisis, several airlines have suspended their flights to the country. Although no official information has been communicated on the Prime Minister’s itinerary following his travels, the gangs seem to have targeted the Toussaint Louverture international airport, where heavy gunfire was still heard Monday night. The coordinated gunfire targeting public establishments by the gangs across the city shattered windows at the Guy Malary terminal, causing panic at the terminal.

Meanwhile, opposition groups have blamed the interim prime minister for all the chaos and anarchy that is reigning in the country currently. A police station at eh airport has been set on fire by the marauding gangs, while total uncertainty reigns across the nation. Some 21 prisoners at the Delmas 33 prison escaped on Sunday night when heavily armed individuals stormed the facility, while more than 40 people were found dead in the capital the same day. The situation forced some of the embassies to close their doors as a precaution. Both the French and Canadian embassies have been closed to consular services while Canada suspended all in person services and only online services are being offered util Wednesday.

Finally, one of the gang leaders, the Granfon gang leader, Agony Alténor, popularly known as Salami has been lynched by a vigilante mob in Belladère early Monday morning. Hunted by the police for several weeks, Salami fled after the last police operations on Wednesday when his accomplice, known as Schneider, was shot dead while confronting, the police with weapon in hand. Sources revealed that Salami’s former allies, who like him fought the gangsters of the region, no longer wanted to accept him in their ranks, since he had become a gang leader himself, terrorizing the residents of Granfon. With problems in Petite-Rivière de l’Artibonite, he decided to return to Granfon but his return was met with popular opposition. 

The subject of an arrest warrant, Agony Alténor was being prosecuted for murder, illegal possession of a firearm, death threat and criminal association. He was seen and detained in Belladère, near the Dominican border where it seems he was trying to leave the country to the DR. The authorities in Saint Marc were alerted to his presence at the border town, but residents there decided to take things to into their own hands and lynched him. The news of his death was such a relief to the residents of Granfon, who were happy about the death, with the pastor Pierre Jacques André declaring that it’s a great day for deliverance for all those who have been intimidated, worried or outraged by the presence of Salami and his men in their community.

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