Violence breaks out again as Haiti PM questions promised political solution

Violence has erupted again in Haiti, with gun battles between gangs and police, while efforts to promote a political solution to the crisis drag on.

Criminal gangs launched armed attacks Monday night, clashing with police in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The violence came as Prime Minister Ariel Henry appeared to question a commitment to establishing a transitional council planned to oversee the formation of a new government.

International media reported that witnesses said a shooting occurred near the Champ de Mars, a large park near the National Palace, the presidential palace. After weeks of chaos, violence has erupted again, sparking panic among residents.

At least five people were reportedly killed around the city overnight and dozens more were trapped in the city center for hours.

At least four police officers were reportedly injured. Local media reported that police were forced to flee an armored vehicle, which was later set on fire by the gang.

Violence erupted after outgoing Prime Minister Ariel Henry expressed doubts about his commitment to forming a broad transition council.

Haiti has been plagued by poverty, natural disasters, political instability and gang violence for decades and has been without a president and no sitting parliament since the assassination of Jovenel Moise in 2021. Its last election was held in 2016.

The situation descended into chaos in late February when the country’s powerful armed gangs launched a campaign of violence, attacking police stations, prisons and airports.

According to a United Nations report, more than 1,500 people have been killed in the first three months of this year, with about 60 people lynched by vigilante groups operating in areas that lack a police presence.

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After Moïse’s death, Henry came to power without being elected and gangs demanded that he step down.

Henry, who remains stranded outside Haiti, announced on March 11 that he would do so once a transitional council was established, which would appoint a new prime minister.

However, since its inception, it has been mired in divisions between political parties and other stakeholders.

Henry’s office said in a statement on Monday that the commission has not yet been established because Haiti’s constitution does not allow the creation of such a body, further raising the stakes.

Henry is seeking advice from the Caribbean Community, the Caribbean body responsible for overseeing the emergency transition process, the statement said.

Meanwhile, as gang violence continues, Haitians are plunged into a severe humanitarian crisis, with shortages of food, medicine and other basic supplies.

The new U.S. ambassador to Haiti, Dennis Hankins, arrived in the country on Monday as the U.S. and other countries continue to evacuate their citizens.

Mexico evacuated 34 nationals on a warship that day, including 7 minors and 4 diplomatic officials.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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