San Juan, Puerto Rico (AP) – February 3, 2024
A shocking new report released by the United Nations (UN) has revealed a disturbing surge in violence, with over 2,300 people killed, injured, or kidnapped in Haiti from October to December 2023. This marks an alarming 10% increase compared to the previous quarter.
The most alarming statistic is the staggering number of killings, which surpassed 1,600 during the reported period. Officials have attributed this surge in violence to the power vacuum created by the death of a notorious gang leader, Andrice Isca, also known as Iskar Andrice and Iscar Andris. His demise unleashed territorial disputes in the Cite Soleil slum of Port-au-Prince, resulting in the death and injury of nearly 270 people over a two-week period in late November.
The clashes primarily occurred within the G-9 Family and Allies gang federation, which targeted their opposition, the G-Pep gang coalition. This violent infighting has not only claimed numerous lives but has also forced over 1,000 individuals to abandon their homes and seek refuge in nearby areas, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.
The report further highlights a shocking increase in kidnappings, with nearly 700 people abducted between October and December 2023, marking a devastating 20% rise compared to the previous quarter. The victims range from street vendors and farmers to high-level professionals, including doctors and civil servants. Disturbingly, gangs continue to commit heinous acts of sexual violence against women and girls, often recording these acts and sharing them on social media to further humiliate their victims.
The most vulnerable members of society, children, have also fallen victim to these ruthless gangs. The report reveals that over 50 children were brutally killed in the last quarter alone. One horrifying incident involved the cold-blooded execution of a 10-year-old boy by members of the Grand Ravine gang, who wrongly accused him of being a police informant.
The dire situation in Haiti has resulted in over 310,000 people being left homeless due to gang violence, including a staggering 170,000 children, according to UNICEF. Furthermore, last year witnessed over 8,400 people falling victim to violence in Haiti, more than double the number reported in 2022.
Considering the escalating crisis, the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) has urgently recommended the deployment of a foreign armed force. However, it remains unlikely that such an international intervention will materialize soon, despite Haiti’s request for assistance over a year ago. In fact, just last week, a court in Kenya declared the UN-backed deployment of police officers to Haiti as unconstitutional.
The alarming rise in violence in Haiti demands immediate attention and action from the international community. It is crucial to address this humanitarian crisis and protect the lives of innocent citizens, particularly the most vulnerable among them.
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