Gangs raid Haiti’s biggest jail, forcing hundreds of convicts to escape

Colombian inmates accused of participating in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise open a gate inside the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, March 3, 2024.

Many prisoners escaped from Haiti’s main prison after armed gangs attacked the facility during a violent night in the city. At least five people died on Sunday.

The jailbreak made Haiti’s violence worse. Violent groups are increasing their attacks in Port-au-Prince while the Prime Minister Ariel Henry is away trying to get support for a UN-backed security force to make the country more stable.

Three people were shot and were lying at the prison entrance. The entrance was wide open and there were no guards around. On Sunday, empty concrete patios were covered in plastic sandals, clothes, and electric fans. Normally, they are crowded with people. In a different area, two men were found dead with their hands tied behind their backs. People walked by the roadblocks set up with burning tires.

Haiti’s government asked people to stay peaceful while it tries to catch the people who committed crimes and got away when violence broke out.

The police are trying their best to catch the prisoners who escaped and the people who helped them. They want to bring back the peace and order in the country.

Arnel Remy, a lawyer who helps people in prison, said that less than 100 out of almost 4,000 inmates are still in jail. 18 ex-Colombian soldiers accused of being hired to help kill the Haitian President Jovenel Moise decided to remain in Haiti. On Saturday night, some Colombians posted a video asking to be saved.

“Please, we need your help,” said Francisco Uribe in a message that was shared a lot on social media. “They are killing people inside the cells without choosing who to target. ”

On Sunday, Uribe told reporters that he didn’t run away because he is innocent.

Colombia’s foreign ministry asked Haiti to give extra protection to the men.

When there was no news from the prison, families went there to see if their loved ones were okay.

Alexandre Jean said she doesn’t know if her son is alive. She looked around the cells to see if she could find him. “I am unsure of what to do. ”

There was a lot of violence on Saturday night, with many different areas saying they heard gunshots.

There were reports that about 1,400 prisoners escaped from a prison in Port-au-Prince. Gangs with weapons took control of the country’s main soccer stadium and caused damage. They also held one worker captive for several hours, according to the soccer federation. Many people in Haiti couldn’t use the internet because the main mobile network’s connection got cut.

In less than two weeks, gangs have attacked several state buildings, working together more and targeting places like the Central Bank that they usually would not have. Gangs attacked and killed four police officers on Thursday.

The US is taking steps to help keep the airport safe in Haiti after gangs shot guns there. The embassy stopped all its official trips to the country and told American citizens to leave as quickly as they can. The embassy said it will cancel all consular appointments until Thursday.

The Biden administration is watching the worsening security situation very closely. They are not sending troops but are providing money and help with organizing things.

An official from the National Security Council said that violence only makes it harder to have a democratic change and hurts many people’s lives. A person in charge, who didn’t want to be named, repeated what the United States said. helping with voting, fair government, and bringing back democracy.

The main place where the violence happened on Saturday night was the National Penitentiary in Haiti. Some gang leaders are being held there. During the shooting, police asked for help.

“The police union said on social media that they need help and used the “SOS” emoji eight times. ” “Let’s get the army and the police to stop the bad guys from getting into the prison. ”

Fights happened after a lot of angry protests that got worse in the last few days. The prime minister went to Kenya to try to save a plan for the U. Nto send a security mission to Haiti, led by Kenya. Henry became the prime minister after Moise was killed. He has been delaying the elections for both the parliament and president, which didn’t happen for almost ten years.

Haiti’s National Police has about 9,000 officers to keep more than 11 million people safe, according to the U. NThey are often outnumbered and overpowered by gangs, who are believed to have control over most of Port-au-Prince, up to 80 per cent.

Former high-ranking police officer Jimmy Cherizier, also known as Barbecue, is now in charge of a group of gangs and says he is the one behind the recent increase in violent attacks. He said they wanted to catch the leader of Haiti’s police and government officials to stop Henry from coming back.

The prime minister, who is a brain surgeon, has ignored demands for him to quit and didn’t say anything when asked if he thought it was okay to return home.


  1. This is where we were headed under Mr. Lungu’s PF. What with their commanders and totally emasculated police. We came pretty close to this veritable chaos but for the grace of God.


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