Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry during the inauguration of his government, in Port-au-Prince, November 24, 2021 Valerie Baeriswyl
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry denounced, in an interview with AFP on Monday, an assassination attempt against his person, during the national day celebrations organized on Saturday in the city of Gonaïves.
“Something was tried against me, personally,” said the head of the Haitian government, who has in fact been managing current affairs since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse by an armed commando on July 7.
“My life is in people’s crosshairs,” he added.
Clashes between police and armed groups erupted on Saturday during national day celebrations in Gonaïves, 150 km north of the capital Port-au-Prince.
Under bursts of gunfire, Ariel Henry and the officials present were forced to flee the city where Haiti’s declaration of independence was signed on January 1, 1804.
In photos sent to AFP by his office, a bullet impact is visible on the windshield of the Prime Minister’s armored vehicle.
At the end of December, groups of citizens and members of armed gangs in Gonaïves, Haiti’s third largest city, violently expressed their opposition to the arrival of the Prime Minister.
“I knew I was taking this risk,” confirmed Ariel Henry, reached over the phone.
“We cannot accept that bandits from whatever background they may be, for basely pecuniary reasons, want to blackmail the state”, he added, denouncing “electoral blackmail”.
The assassination, six months ago, of the Haitian president in his private residence amplified the deep political crisis in which the Caribbean country has been stuck for years.
Without a functioning parliament for two years and with a judicial power paralyzed by the lack of judges at the highest court of the country, the Haitian population is daily confronted with the rise of gangs, which increase the number of villainous kidnappings with impunity.