Haiti - FLASH : Violence, vandalism and looting in Port-au-Prince - HaitiLibre.com : Haiti news 7/7
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Haiti - FLASH : Violence, vandalism and looting in Port-au-Prince
18/03/2021 10:03:15

Haiti - FLASH : Violence, vandalism and looting in Port-au-Prince
On Wednesday the metropolitan area experienced another day of tension, violence, vandalism and looting on abackground of automatic gunfire that claimed several lives. Hooded and heavily armed individuals claiming to belong to the Fantôme 509 Group, some in the uniform of the National Police of Haiti (PNH), members of the radical opposition and sympathizers demonstrated to shout their anger after the death of the 4 police elites officers killed during the assault on the Village de Dieu https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-33226-haiti-flash-failure-of-the-anti-gang-operation-in-village-de-dieu-several-police-officers-killed-others-injured.html

In Delmas the main road was blocked, vehicles were placed across the road and barricades of flaming tires were erected at several intersections blocking traffic, moreover armed individuals with masked faces forced under threat the motorists to turn around.

On the road de Frères, the demonstrators who made responsible the Director General ai of the PNH Léon Charles for the defeat in the Village-de-Dieu joined the Phantom 509 group and members of the PNH Syndicates demanding that the bodies of the killed police officers on duty in Village-de-Dieu be handed over to their parents and accusing the PNH of having paid to recover an armored vehicle captured by the bandits.

Back on the airport road, scenes of looting were recorded in particular at Universal Motors owned by Réginald Boulos. Unidentified individuals attacked the company, setting the entrance to the building on fire before looting it. About a dozen vehicles were set on fire, others vandalized or stolen.

In the same area, heavily armed men opened fire when individuals attempted to loot the Auto Plaza premises. During an intense exchange of fire, several people were injured including "Zazou" gang leader from the area Simon Pelé who, hit with several projectiles, was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Léon Charles denied the rumors wanting to believe that the armored vehicle captured by the bandits had been recovered against ransom, saying "[...] the PNH did not engage in any negotiations with the villagers of Village-de-Dieu to recover the armored vehicle. We were informed that the device was abandoned somewhere. Knowing what danger this material represents for the population and for the country, we have taken all the security measures, beyond all considerations, to recover it."

Reacting to this day of violence Rockefeller Vincent, the Minister of Justice and Public Security declared "[...] Breakage and violence are unacceptable in a society that wants to be democratic. No citizen has the right to abuse the freedom to protest by endangering the freedom of movement and the property rights of other fellow citizens, regardless of their political opinion […] The High Staff of the PNH has been instructed to better inquire into the frustrations of the police and to quickly restore discipline [...] The DG of the PNH was instructed to track down the bandits and thugs who attack public property, private investments, life and to the freedom of citizens."

For its part, the Office of the Secretary of State for Communication on behalf of the Government condemned these acts of violence, which resulted in a partial paralysis of socio-economic activities, destruction of public and private property as well as acts of vandalism. The office also informs that the Government is working to recover the bodies of the police officers killed last Friday in the village of God, as demanded by the population and the grieving families.

The Office of the Secretary of State appealed to the population for serenity and restraint while ensuring that all measures are considered to preserve peace, stability and social cohesion.

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