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Haiti Gang Violence: Over 5.5 Lakh Displaced As New Cabinet Tries To Restore Order In Strife-Torn Nation | Details

Haiti has been facing unrest for a long time, but gangs unleashed coordinated attacks with gunmen, taking police stations under their control.

Photo: AP/PTI
Gang violence in Haiti Photo: AP/PTI
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Rising instances in violence from clashes with armed groups in the Caribbean country of Haiti since March has displaced around 5,80,000 people, an United Nations migration agency's report said.

This comes just days after Haitian leaders ousted the troubled leader of Haiti's National Police -- Frantz Elbé -- as a result of months of criticism that he was not doing enough to protect officers under assault from gangs.

Haiti has been facing unrest for a long time, but gangs unleashed coordinated attacks with gunmen at the end of February, taking police stations under their control. The gangs opened fire on the country's main international airport that remained closed for almost three months. Additionally, they also stormed the two biggest prisons of Haiti.

UN MIGRATION AGENCY REPORT

A report from the International Organisation for Migration, released on Tuesday, said that over half a million were mainly displaced because people were fleeing the capital of Port-au-Prince for other provinces, which lack resources to support them.

As per the agency's report from March, more than 3,62,000 people had been internally displaced. Since then, the southern region has witnessed surging violence, resulting in the displaced people doubling in number.

"Nearly all those internally displaced are currently hosted by communities already struggling with overburdened social services and poor infrastructure, raising further concerns about tensions with the potential to spark further violence," the report said.

GANG CONTROL

With the gangs taking control of at least 80 per cent of Port-au-Prince, main roads that connect the rest of the country, several have been forced to live in makeshift shelters, including schools and other such institutions that are now sheltering over 60,000 people.

These gangs have also been charging fees from those who want to use the highways or blackmailing drivers to get their hijacked trucks back on the roads, where the presence of police is not as much.

Violence has also been on the rise in Haiti's capital. Just last week, the armed gangs attacked families in the Terre-Neuve, a village in the northern side of Haiti, prompting over 1,000 people to flee their homes for a safer shelter.

FORMER POLICE CHIEF TO TAKE CHARGE AGAIN

Following the ousting of the troubled director of Haiti's National Police, Frantz Elbé, at the hands of the Haitian leaders, a government official told the Associated Press that former police chief Normil Rameau will take charge once again.

Rameau will again lead the ill-equipped and underfunded department that a UN report said only has 4,000 officers on duty at a time. He was dismissed from the post almost four years ago by a different administration.

Rameau was appointed in August 2019 by slain former President Jovenel Mosïse and he served as the police director-general.

Notably, according to a survey by a local not-for-profit group -- National Network for the Defense of Human Rights -- said that over 320 police officers had been killed from 2015 to 2024 and of them, 120 died under Elbé's administration.

NEW GOVT FORMED AMID BID TO RESTORE ORDER

A new government was formed in Haiti last week, amid attempts to restore order in the violence-torn country. All the ministers from the government of former Prime Minister Ariel Henry have been replaced with this development.

Henry had been forced to resign from the PM post earlier this year by the gangs which are controlling larger parts of Haiti, BBC reported.

The new cabinet came into play two weeks after the transitional government appointed interim prime minister Garry Conille. He also took up the role of interior minister.

The move comes as a strong attempt towards rectifying the situation in the nation which is ravaged by violence, posing uncertainty and threat to the lives of many.

Conille on Tuesday attended a ceremony where over 400 officers graduated from the police academy, with the hope that they will help control the gang violence in the Caribbean country.

He reminded the graduates about the hopes of people that lie over their shoulders, saying "You need to know that you are not. You are the hope of the population at this crucial moment in our history."

(With agency inputs)

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