Tuesday, January 18

Violence in Haiti. Prime Minister Ariel Henry denounces assassination attempt against him

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry denounced 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 said he felt “in the crosshairs of the people”. Ariel Henry is responsible for the management of current affairs since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse by an armed commando on July 7.

The Prime Minister under the bursts of fire

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 transmitted 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.

“Blackmail to the State”

“We cannot accept that bandits from all backgrounds, for basely pecuniary reasons, want to blackmail the state,” said Ariel Henry, adding that gang members have asked for help. money in exchange for an attack-free visit to Gonaïves.

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. If several Haitian citizens, two Americans of Haitian origin and about fifteen Colombian nationals, presumed to be involved in the murder of Jovenel Moïse, have been imprisoned in the prison of Port-au-Prince since this summer, the investigation into the attack against the head of state shows no sign of progress.

Without a functioning parliament for two years and with a judiciary paralyzed by the lack of judges at the highest court in the country, Haiti is sinking into a governance crisis that exacerbates already endemic poverty. The growing control of gangs on the national territory undermines the hopes of improving the living conditions of the population, victim of villainous kidnappings committed daily by armed gangs.

At least 950 kidnappings were recorded in Haiti in 2021, according to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, an organization based in Port-au-Prince.


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